The Promise: Love and Loss in Modern China by Xinran
"Divorce as we undestand it today is a product of modern chinese society. Up until the overthrow of the feudal imperial system in 1911, a man could disown his wife, but a woman had absolutely no right to end her marriage. Then, with the violent upheavals and political turmoil of the twentieth century, divorce (and remarriage) came to be regarded as a way of climbing the political ladder to a better life. No one would admite that the reason for their divorce was to escape from a loveless and unnatural marriage. "
"It was not until the 1980s that chinese people were truly able to decide freely about marriage, to make up their minds and look for the kind of family that they really wanted. From that point on, the word " divorce" finally became a topic which people talked about openly. Some young chinese are even trying to persuade parents who married for political reasons to divorce and find the true love that was denied them in their youth. But what these children can't understand is that it is too late for many of those tired and weather-beaten souls."