Delegate Name: Camille Gerville-Reache
An opponent against modernization, child marriage is an issue capable of immediate action. According to United Nations commissioned research, an alarming 37,000 female minors are married off daily, to oftentimes older men. Most families who consent to child marriages are desperate to secure a prosperous future for their children. However, child marriage as a safety net is counterintuitive because victims lose access to educational and employment opportunities. Females are disproportionately affected, and child brides are more likely to suffer from domestic abuse, unsafe sexual practices, and high-risk pregnancies. For these reasons and more, the United Nations has declared child marriage a human rights violation.
To shield adolescents from marriage and other dangers, China implemented the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors, Article 15 of which states, “The parents or other guardians of minors may not permit or force the minors to marry, nor may they make marriage contracts on behalf of the minors.” Minors are defined as under anyone 18. Furthermore, the Civil Code of China states “No marriage may be contracted before the man has reached 22 years of age and the woman 20 years of age. Late marriage and late childbirth shall be encouraged.” Such laws, in addition to China’s required 9-year education law, lead youth to complete university education and obtain employment as an alternative. More than 60% of Chinese high school students attend university.
China has encouraged other countries to do the same. In the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, nations affirmed the damage child marriage inflicts on women and children. Strict laws that increase the age of consent and prevent parentally contracted marriages were urged. Since most rationale behind child marriage is economic, the conference suggested providing educational opportunities. China continues to encourage laws banning child marriage and supporting education, especially for young women. China looks forward to working with other countries in combatting child marriage.
“Is Child Marriage Legal in China? – China Law in One Minute.” China Justice Observer, https://www.chinajusticeobserver.com/a/is-child-marriage-legal-in-china.
“Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995.” United Nations, United Nations, https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/girl.htm.
“The Facts on Child Marriage.” International Women’s Health Coalition, 23 May 2018, https://iwhc.org/resources/facts-child-marriage/#:~:text=1%20in%203%20girls%20in,before%20the%20age%20of%2018.
“Constitution and Related Laws.” Database of Laws and Regulations, http://www.npc.gov.cn/zgrdw/englishnpc/Law/2007-12/12/content_1383869.htm.