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Divorce Case Makes History
Add Date:2010-4-23      

Divorce Case Makes History


copy from: http://www.china.org.cn/english/Life/67167.htm


A divorce case made legal history in China Tuesday when the wife of a hotel entrepreneur filed a claim for half of more than 300 million yuan (US$36 million) of her family's estate.

It represents the largest amount of marriage property to be divided by the decision of a Chinese court.

Lawyers for the female plaintiff, whose name was only given as Zhang, said she was suing for divorce on the ground her husband had an extra-marital affair.

But the Hainan High People's Court heard she has encountered difficulty in collecting enough evidence to prove that such an amount of property exists.

The case has sparked debate in legal circles. Experts question the effectiveness of the law in protecting the rights of women in a disadvantaged position.

The court in Hainan accepted the case in November and opened its first session Tuesday after investigation.

It heard that Zhang married her husband Yu in 1996 and had a daughter. In April 2001, Zhang filed for divorce.

The Intermediate People's Court in Haikou ruled that Yu should pay 6,000 yuan (US$730) to Zhang, who has no personal income and lives with her daughter who suffers from arthrosis. But the court heard Tuesday that Yu did not obey the ruling.

In August, Zhang filed a lawsuit with the Hainan High People's Court, claiming a portion of the family assets.

The court heard that Yu invested in a Hilton Hotel in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province in the name of a Taiwan businessman and held a 25 percent stake in the hotel while they were married.

Zhang appealed for half of Yu's shares. The value of the hotel was estimated at 1.3 billion yuan (US$156 million).

Yan Chuandong, a legal professor with Hainan University, said property owned by the married couple was deemed as common property under the law -- unless a special pre-marital contract between the couple existed.

But the incomplete property registration system in China meant it was difficult for a person's total property to be traced, Yan said.

Wang Yanlei, counsel for the plaintiff, said it was hard for his client to collect evidence of her husband's property since she was never involved in the operation of the hotel.

(China Daily March 26, 2003)

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