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In particular, the May Fourth movement called for men and women to interact freely in public, and to make marriage a free choice based on true love.This freedom of choosing one's spouse was codified in the 1950 Marriage Law, which also outlawed arranged and coerced marriages.Important changes in marriage practices came from the 19 Marriage Laws' outlawing of concubinage, child marriages, polygamy, and selling of sons and daughters into marriage or prostitution.Provisions made for changes in property ownership have also significantly altered the marital relationships between men and women.The law was revised by a group that included the All-China Women’s Federation, the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, among others.The changes introduced in the 1980 Marriage Law represent the principle transition of the traditional structure of marriage to a modern legal framework.The law bans marriage between close relatives, which is defined as lineal relatives, blood relative in the direct line of descent, and collateral relatives, such as cousins or uncles, to the third degree of relationship.
Marriage today has been influenced by many of the revolutionary and feminist movements that have occurred in the twentieth century. For example, the efforts to end foot binding, the movement to secure rights to education for women, and the campaigns to allow women into the work force, alongside other changes all challenged the traditional gender role of married women.
For example, women were allowed to own property under this law, as well as inherit it.
Laws such as the one-child policy have influenced the family structures and fertility patterns of married couples as well.
This ideology formed a culture of marriage that strove for the “Chinese family idea, which was to have many generations under one roof".
It was the maintenance of filial piety that dictated a traditional behavior code between men and women in marriage and in the lifetime preparation for marriage.