On March 1, China’s State Council unveiled a set of policies designed to cool down the country’s housing market. One of the new rules slapped a compulsory 20% income tax on home sellers. The new policies were met with a lot of skepticism and criticism, most of which speculated that they will further drive up housing prices in China.
Another thing, and probably the most unexpected thing, that the new policies are also likely to drive up is China’s divorce rate. Why? Because a fake divorce can potentially save a family the 20% income tax on property sales.
Only one day after the new rules were announced, the following strategy to avoid the tax started to be widely circulated on the Chinese Internet:
- The seller couple files for divorce. The seller husband gets the house that the couple intends to sell.
- The buyer couple files for divorce. The buyer husband gets the house that the couple owns.
- The seller husband marries the buyer wife. Now the house (that the seller family intends to sell and the buyer family intends to buy) becomes a shared property.
- The seller husband and the buyer wife file for divorce. The buyer wife gets the house.
- Both the seller family and the buyer family re-marry their original spouses.
Three divorces and no property-sale tax! And this is not just another sarcastic joke from cynical Chinese netizens. According to a report by Xian Dai Kuai Bao (a Nanjing newspaper under Xinhua News), 294 couples filed for divorce in Nanjing on March 4, more than twice as many as the usual number.
Director Xia at the marriage registry in Gulou District, Nanjing, thus told the journalists: “The couples [who are filing for divorce] seemed to be in a rush, urging the staff to be faster. Some of them were very candid. They said that they wanted a divorce only because of house.”
Xia said that many couples asked for paper work to prove their “legally single” status immediately after they registered for a divorce. The move, to Xia, is apparently for house sales/purchase.
In 2013, vows at a Chinese wedding should read like this:
“- Would you take this woman to be your wife? Love her and cherish her, no matter poor or rich, in sickness or in health, as long as you both shall live. Never part with her and be loyal to her even if the two of you have to divorce, marry others and re-unite for the purchase of a second-handed house.
- Yes, I do.”
Faced with overwhelming questions and criticism, Jiang Weixin, Minister of China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, responded: “The policies have just been released. Let’s give it a try for now.”
It’s another heavy smog day in Beijing, and the Chinese government finally decided to do something about it – to find PM 2.5 a proper Chinese name.
PM 2.5 means particulates or particulate matters smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (about 0.0001 inches). PM 2.5, though a buzz word, has never been given an official Chinese name; and that’s unacceptable. For the Chinese government to effectively manage PM 2.5 (or anything really), it, of course, needs to be talked about in Chinese first.
On February 27, the Committee held a special seminar to discuss how to name PM 2.5 in Chinese. According to Wu Rongsheng, another member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, they aim to find a proper Chinese term that is scientific, easy to understand and at the same time applicable in many circumstances. Chinese netizens, probably the group who have mentioned the term the most, have some pretty good suggestions.
“Toxic Dust,” “Fine Dust,” “Fine Suspended Particle,” “Floating Smog 2.5,” “Lung-invasive Dust”
“Breathing Pain,” “Life 25% Shorter Index,” “Standing Right in Front of You But You Cannot See Me Index”
“Shitizen 250” – PM is the initials of Pi Min (屁民) which, in Chinese, means citizens who have been treated by their government like shit; and 250 is a slang in Chinese for the dumb and stupid.
“Happiness Index”- because with this name, the Chinese government is able to claim another “world’s NO. 1”.
“Happy Particles with Chinese Characteristics”
“Cheat the People 2.5”
“National Secret” – Background: last week, China Environmental Bureau refused to dislocate soil pollution data in the country, saying the information is state secret.
“GDP Chain Index”