China Publishing Marriage Records to Sniff Out Cheaters

by Liz Colville

China is publishing marriage records to help combat the country’s rising infidelity rate. This is not the worst thing ever, in the category of the Chinese government doing things on the Internet, but when you think deeply about it, it becomes puzzling, because how exactly are the cheaters to be determined?

Does a woman go online to see whether her husband is indeed married to her? “Yes! We’re married, OK, good, I thought so. Anyway, gee, he’s been at the gym a really long time…” Or the cheater can sign on to check to see if he or she is still married. Maybe there’s a chance the spouse just…went away. “He’s still hanging around? Take a hint, guy.” The onus is clearly on the one who’s cavorting with the cheater. “Let me just make sure this guy doesn’t have a double life. Oh…damn.”

It turns out that China makes it pretty easy for a person to be married to two people at the same time — under the same name? clever two-timers! — hence the utility of the database.