Marriage of 16-year-olds sparks debate in China

Beijing, Feb 23 (IANS) Photos of two 16-year-olds in wedding gown and suit have sparked heavy criticism and heated discussion on Chinese social media, a news report on Tuesday said.

The two teens, who were first reported to be a 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, have clarified online that they both were 16-year-old, and their marriage was accepted by their respective families despite the legal marriageable age in China being 22 for males and 20 for females, the China Daily reported.

The couple, from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, claimed to have known each other for over a year. Both have dropped out of school. Aside from clarifying their ages in the online statement, the two also refuted netizens’ speculation that the marriage is due to the bride’s pregnancy.

“The marriage between us is just inevitable after knowing each other for over a year. So we just held the ceremony and will get a marriage certificate after we reach our legal age,” said the bride.

The fact that the groom quit in the second year of junior high school sparked debate. According to Chinese law, a teenager has to receive nine years of compulsory education, namely six years of primary school education and three years in junior high school.

Some web users have slammed the wedding, since it is not legal.

“Is it possible that their families arranged this wedding, invited friends to the wedding banquet so as to collect gift money? The ‘marriage’ is not protected by law anyway,” Weibo user Ajiaojiao said.

“We fell in love, and with our families’ support we held this wedding. We just wait to get to a marriageable age. The current ‘debate’ or attention on me is really disturbing my life. ” the groom added.

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