China is cracking down on people who get married overseas and who are in the country legally, with some of them having to register their marriages abroad and pay fees to register the marriage with the local government.
The move has prompted the Education Ministry to create an online portal for people to get married in the capital Beijing.
But it has also brought some new challenges.
The first problem is the legal language.
People have to be able to communicate in English to get their Chinese names changed for the sake of preserving the authenticity of the name.
“It can be hard to communicate clearly with your spouse and family, because people need to understand what the marriage is about,” said Li Hongfeng, a legal specialist at Shanghai’s Tongji University of Law.
The second problem is how to ensure the validity of the change.
“The change is required if the marriage has already been approved by the court,” said Huang Guangguo, director of the Chinese Society of Legal Profession, which oversees the registration of marriages.
“This means that the change is not final, and there’s no guarantee that you will be able receive the marriage registration documents in time.”
People who are not registered in the first place are not entitled to the change either.
The National Law on Marriage and Family, which governs marriage and family law, has no specific provision for registering marriages overseas.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry’s Office of Legal Affairs, which manage the country’s foreign legal affairs, have issued guidelines to help people with their applications, according to an article on the ministry’s official Weibo microblog account.
The article said: “If you apply for a foreign marriage, you should be prepared to provide the documents, as required by the law of the country of residence.
You should also be willing to accept the responsibility of the marriage in the event of your failure to comply with these conditions.”
People in Beijing who are unmarried and who want to register a marriage overseas are required to pay a fee of 5,000 yuan ($86), plus 5,200 yuan ($87) to get the marriage certificate.
The fee will be deducted from the fee that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is imposing on foreigners.
The registration fee is part of the Beijing Municipal Government’s efforts to make it easier for foreigners to obtain foreign marriage licenses.
The Beijing Municipal government has also increased the number of marriage licenses for foreigners from five to 10 a month.
The ministry said the change was necessary to ensure that people who do not have their own name are registered, and that the people can get a copy of their foreign marriage license in their own language.
The People’s Daily, a government mouthpiece, wrote that it was necessary because the number one cause of domestic disputes was the absence of proper documentation for a marriage.
In 2015, the People’s Liberation Army conducted the most executions of foreign criminals in history, according the state news agency Xinhua.
But Li Hongfu said that the new policy would only be of benefit for Chinese people who are legally registered.
“If we’re not able to change the name of the husband, how can we change the names of the wife?” he said.