Expert proposes lower age limit for marriage

Updated: 2016-01-07 08:27

By Yang Wanli(China Daily)

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The legal age for marriage in China should be changed to allow people to have children at an earlier age, a population and family planning expert said.

"The age limit should be shifted two years earlier, to allow a woman at 18 and a man at 20 to marry," said He Yafu, an expert on population and family planning.

The legal age for marriage in China is currently 22 for men and 20 for women.

He made the comment in Beijing News on Monday, saying that the current age limit for marriage is inconsistent with the civil law, which recognizes full adult rights and responsibilities at age 18.

The question of gender equality was not addressed.

"Since a citizen aged 18 has civil rights protected by law, he or she should have the right to get marry," He said.

An online survey by Beijing News tallied 180,000 votes, with 46 percent supporting the idea and 52 percent opposed.

"Age limit is not only about physical concerns, but also made based on other concerns. Many people aged 18 are still not financially independent. I am worried about their ability to support a family," said a Shanghai netizen named Little Apple.

In the United States, the marriage age is generally 18 for both sexes. In the United Kingdom, Parliament set the age limit at 16 for both sexes in 1929. In Japan, the limit is 18 for males and 16 for females with parental consent.

"We should encourage more couples to give birth to children," He said. "It will help counter the aging of the population."