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Marriage, Law, and Revolution: Divorce Law Practice in the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region (婚姻、革命与法律—陕甘宁边区的离婚法实践)

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image of Rural China

Abstract Based on the judicial archives of the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region, this article examines the Border Region’s divorce law practice in the context of the Chinese Communist revolution. Despite the retreat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from its radical approach to divorce during the Yan’an period, women were encouraged by various changes introduced by the revolution to exercise the right to divorce, and their failure or success in divorce litigation was closely associated with their respective positions or statuses as defined in connection with the revolution. On the other side, male peasants, the major social force of the revolution, experienced a downward movement in the marriage market, and their encounter with gongjiaren in divorce litigation revealed the gap between the ideal of marriage as anticipated by lawmakers and the marriage market in reality. To a large extent, this tension contributed to the development of a mediation-focused judicial system, which would deeply influence the civil justice system of the People’s Republic of China. (This article is in English.) 摘要 本文利用陕甘宁边区的司法档案,在中国共产党革命的背景下考察陕甘宁边区的离婚法实践。尽管边区的婚姻立法已从苏维埃时期完全支持离婚的激进立场撤退,但革命带来的各种现实变化,尤其是对个人身份的重塑,仍然激励妇女积极地行使离婚的权利,而她们在革命中所处的位置或身份对于她们在离婚诉讼中权利的实现有重大关联。另一方面,作为革命主要社会力量的男性农民在婚姻市场上经历了下滑, 他们和公家人在离婚诉讼中的对抗清楚地显示了立法者预期的婚姻理想和现实的婚姻市场之间的紧张关系。对此法官们创造性地摸索出一套以调解为主要手段的司法技术,对于中华人民共和国的民事法律制度有根本性的影响。


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