Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


January 28, 1931

[This is the full text of a decree of the First session of the Central executive committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic, entitled ‘Provisional Marriage Regulations’.]

Under feudal domination, marriage is a barbaric and inhuman Institution. The oppression and suffering borne by women is far greater than that of man. Only the victory of the workers' and peasants' revolution, followed by the first step toward the economic emancipation of men and women, brings with it a change in the marriage relationship and makes it free. In the Soviet districts, marriages now are contracted on a free basis. Free choice must be the basic principle of every marriage. The whole feudal system of marriage, including the power of parents to arrange marriage for their children, to exercise compulsion, and all purchase and sale in marriage contracts shall henceforth be abolished.

Although women have obtained freedom from the feudal yoke, they are still labouring under tremendous physical handicaps (for example the binding of the feet) and have not obtained complete economic independence. Therefore on questions concerning divorce, it becomes necessary to protect the interests of women and place the greater part of the obligations and responsibilities entailed by divorce upon men.

Children are the masters of the new society. Under the old system little attention was paid to children. Consequently special regulations have been established concerning the protection of children.

These present regulations are hereby made public and shall enter into force as of 1 December 1931.

Chairman of the Central Executive Committee

Vice-Chairmen 28 Jan. 1931

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung