‘It’s fate’: car trouble scuppers divorce as husband’s vehicle breaks down 6 times on journey to seal marriage split in China

‘It’s fate’: car trouble scuppers divorce as husband’s vehicle breaks down 6 times on journey to seal marriage split in China
  • Majority among 400,000 who viewed wife’s online video believe ‘car trouble’ was a ruse by husband to spoil split
  • Divorce rate in China has declined sharply after a ‘cooling-off’ period law for warring couples was introduced in January 2021

They say divorce can be difficult, but not this difficult, surely.

A video in which a Chinese woman is left speechless when the car of her husband-not-to-be breaks down six times on their way to finalise a divorce settlement has gone viral.

In the clip, which has attracted 400,000 views online, the woman from northern China’s Heilongjiang province points her camera at her clumsy-looking husband, who she said was checking if the windshield wiper fluid was running out.

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She said the wiper-fluid faux pas was just the latest mishap and that the car had broken down six times during the journey, plus they had to stop twice for petrol.

The woman, identified only by her Douyin account @Woshijianyi, published the video on January 30 and asked: “Are we going to get divorced or not?”

Chinese online observers were sure the “car trouble” was a ruse by the husband to prevent the divorce.

“If the car really did break down, it is fate that you should be together. If not, the husband is asking you to give it one more chance,” said one person.

“I bet if you tell him you don’t want a divorce anymore, the car will be in excellent working condition all the way home,” joked another.

A third person was clearer about the situation. “It seems that neither of them want a divorce, or they could have easily taken a taxi.”

The comments seemed to be borne out by subsequent events.

In later video posts on Douyin, the woman talked about her happy married life in the wake of the “car trouble” and did not reply when nosey observers asked: “Did you two get divorced or not?”

In her latest video posted on February 3, the woman said: “My husband always threatened to divorce me over trivial matters, so I told him today that our house, car and bank cards are all registered under my name. Then he told me he will love me forever.”

Although the video seems to have been a joke played between the couple, getting divorced in China has been made harder by a controversial 30-day cooling-off period for couples seeking to split which was introduced in January 2021.

As a result, the divorce rate in 2021 declined by 43 per cent compared with 2020, with only 2.1 million couples successfully completing divorce registrations, according to the civil affairs ministry.

It was the first major decline in the past two decades, during which the divorce rate had been climbing steadily, according to YuWa Population Research Institute.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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