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Happily ever after until the divorce [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-9-16 22:08:32 |Display all floors
The divorce of Faye Wong and Li Yapeng has prompted many people to take a searching look at their own marriages. (Provided to China Daily)
Broken marriages rise in China over last decade, report Cui Jia, He Na and Wu Wencong in Beijing.

'Sometimes, I believe everything comes with an expiration date and no relationship can be immortal' is a lyric from a love song by Faye Wong, the Chinese pop diva, who announced the end of her second marriage on Friday.

Wong, 44, and former actor turned business mogul Li Yapeng, 41, who had been married for eight years, signed a divorce agreement on Friday in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, where Li was born. Li has been awarded custody of the couple's 6-year-old daughter.

The high-profile divorce of this "perfect" celebrity couple has prompted many people to take a searching look at their own marriages.

China's divorce rate has risen at an annual rate of around 8 percent in the past 10 years, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

In 2012, more than 3.1 million couples divorced and experts are concerned that a high divorce rate may result in a host of social problems.

"I am not joking that our society will disintegrate if the family dissolves. Problems within the family are the fundamental cause of many social problems. Divorce not only affects the lives, work and families of the people concerned, it also affects their children's upbringing," Shu Xin, head of the China Marriage and Family Counseling Center, said on Sunday.

He said the number of crimes committed by children from single-parent families is far higher than those by children from traditional two-parent households. Moreover, the rising incidence of extramarital affairs and domestic violence also poses a growing threat to social stability and is ramping up the pressure on the government to safeguard it.

"Although no nationwide data is available about cases where divorce has resulted in criminal activity, our research in recent years in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security and the People's Public Security University indicates that a high divorce rate results in a rise in crimes such as murder and serious physical injury," said Wu Changzhen, a professor who specializes in civil, marital and family law at China University of Political Science and Law, on Sunday.

"Furthermore, more than 50 percent of convicted killers who are sentenced to death claim that an unhappy marriage was the motive for the murder," she said.

It seems that behind Wong and Li's perfect smiles and public composure, they faced the same problems as any other couple. Following the divorce announcement, Li commented on his micro blog that Wong is set to be a legend, while he just wants a family. However, the reasons for their parting are, as yet, unclear.

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(China Daily)
'Perfect' couples

Zhao Junyan, a psychological counselor at the counseling center at Capital Normal University, admitted that she didn't know the details behind the divorce, but felt that certain factors could have been absent from the relationship - including caring for and being supportive of each other, and the sense of belonging to a family.

"People who question the viability of marriage when they see celebrities break up usually lack faith in themselves. In many people's minds, celebrities are their idols; they are perfect and so are their lives. The fans have high expectations and assume the celebrities are perfect in every respect, including their marriages," said Wang Jun, manager of Beijing Weiqing Marriage Consultant Co. "But celebrities are just people who have achieved a lot in a certain field. People are equal in marriage and even celebrities have to deal with the same problems other people have. It's inevitable."

Shu said he was recently consulted by a couple facing a tough decision. The couple, both well-known professors at a prestigious university in Shanghai, told him it had taken them years to make the decision to divorce because they didn't want to damage their social standing or their children's welfare. They felt their freedom to choose to end their marriage had been hijacked by social convention.

Wong and Li confirmed their split on separate micro blogs once the divorce became official. The posts generated heated public discussion. Some posters and bloggers said they would now devote more time to their own families to avoid the same fate. Others felt that divorce can be a civilized act and is sometimes the best option.

Wong wrote: "Our fate as husband and wife in this life is over. I'm well. Please take care of yourself". Opinion is divided over whether the post was a message to her fans or if she was addressing Li directly, but it attracted more than 100,000 replies in the hour after it appeared. As of 3 pm Sunday, the post had been forwarded more than 760,000 times and the divorce was front-page news across China on Saturday.

Experts said a prime factor in the high divorce rate among Chinese couples is a lack of communication or simply invalid communication, when couples feel they can't get the type of love they need from each other.

Wang Jun said a marriage is just like the human body - to keep it running normally, it needs to see the doctor every so often. Couples should talk to each other if small conflicts occur, and also seek help from relatives, friends and marriage counselors to prevent minor problems from getting out of hand and leading to an irreversible breakdown in communications.

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'Family Harmony'

The Ministry of Civil Affairs is currently promoting the "Family Harmony" project, which seeks to improve the quality of marriages and help couples solve their marital crises, in the hope of lowering the divorce rate.

The nonprofit program, which was launched in Shanghai in March, aims to provide a greater number of highly skilled professional counselors and psychologists to work as "marriage doctors and nurses" and help to improve relationships and maintain social stability.

Zhao said most marital problems occur around seven or eight years after the wedding, a phenomenon known as the "seven-year itch".

"It's the time when the couple's economic status has become relatively stable but they have to take care of both the elderly and young in their family, which leaves little time for themselves," she said, adding that dedication to the children can't make up for or replace a lack of affection or the time partners can devote to each other.

The past few years have seen a rise in the number of couples filing for divorce within a year of getting married. In the most extreme cases, couples have even married and divorced on the same day. People marry with too much haste and lack a sense of responsibility to both their families and society, said Wu.

The problems may appear long before married life begins, according to Zhao, who said around one-fifth of her clients, mainly college students, come for counseling about relationship issues.

"The problem is that they all want to receive, rather than give. They are always thinking about what their boyfriend or girlfriend should do for them, instead of devoting their own time and emotions willingly," she said.

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Reporters' behavior condemned as immoral

The crazed way in which reporters chased Faye Wong's car on the night the singer announced her divorce has reminded the public of the tragedy of Princess Diana and prompted a heated discussion about media ethics.

More than 100 reporters besieged Beijing International Airport shortly after the news of the divorce broke online on a rain-filled Friday. Wong herself was on a flight back to the capital from Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, where she had signed the divorce agreement.

Most ended up empty-handed after Wong left via the airport's VIP exit. However, she failed to escape the notice of reporters from the online news portal Tencent, who chased her car at speeds of up to 130 km/h. At one point, after they drove in front of Wong's car, forcing it to come to an abrupt halt, the photographers seized the moment to take snaps.

The news portal owned by Tencent Holdings, the world's third-largest Internet company after Google and Amazon, then posted their "exclusive reports" online, accompanied by photos showing a distressed and tearful Wong.

The reporters not only earned tens of millions of page views, they also attracted criticism for what some observers saw as an immoral and dangerous practice. Tencent apologized on Saturday.

"To be besieged by reporters is the price you always pay as a public figure. But isn't it crossing the line when you force others to stop their car? What if there had been an accident?" commented Lin Chufang, editor-in-chief of iRead magazine on his micro blog.

Lin Jie, a teacher at the school of journalism and communications at Wuhan University, said: "Do we remember the death of Diana? You can fight for the news, but your behavior can't threaten the security of others and trample on the feelings of the innocent."

Diana died in a car crash in Paris on Aug 31, 1997. An inquest in London partly attributed the accident to the paparazzi who were pursuing her car.

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Faye Wong sings at a fundraising concert for the Smile Angel Foundation in 2012. The charity helps Chinese children with cleft palates and lips. (Xinhua)
The undisputed queen of the Canto-pop scene

Faye Wong is probably the most popular female Chinese pop singer of the past two decades, often simply referred to as "The Diva" by the media and her fans. She featured alongside seven other world-famous female pop singers, including Celine Dion and Maria Carey, in a Time magazine cover story, "The Divas of Pop", in October 1996.

The daughter of a mining engineer and a soprano, Wong was born in Beijing in 1969 and moved to Hong Kong in 1987. Her grandfather, Wang Youlin, was a national legislator in the 1940s.

Wong showed her distinctive vocal talent at an early age and released six albums between 1985 and 1987 while still in high school. The albums mostly consisted of songs by her personal idol, Taiwan's iconic singer Teresa Teng.

Wang rose to fame a few years after she moved to Hong Kong. She started off singing in Cantonese, but later switched to her native Mandarin. In 2000, Guinness World Records recognized her as the highest-selling female Canto-pop singer.

In addition to massive followings in China, Singapore and Malaysia, Wong is also immensely popular in Japan and is the only Chinese artist to have performed at Tokyo's renowned Budokan arena four times.

She has also starred in a number of movies and in 1994 won the Best Actress Award at the Stockholm Film Festival for her role in Chungking Express, directed by Wong Kar-wai.

She married her first husband, Beijing rock star Dou Wei, in 1996. Their daughter, Dou Jingtong, was born the following year. The couple divorced in 1999.

Wong kept a lower profile after she married actor Li Yapeng in 2005. She gave birth to their daughter, Li Yan, in 2006. The child was born with a severely cleft lip and the couple founded the Smile Angel Foundation, a charity for Chinese children with cleft palates and lips.

In 2010, in confirmation of her star status, Wong was invited to perform at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, the most viewed TV show in China.

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