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Forum focuses on harmonious family
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-19 05:49

In the face of surging divorce rates, domestic violence, elderly neglect and extra-marital affairs, China's social workers are stressing the need for family harmony.

The family is the basic building block of society and harmonious families contribute to building a harmonious society, Professor Wang Zhenyu with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said yesterday at a seminar on family harmony.

"When the family unit becomes a battlefield, how can we expect a harmonious society?" He added.

Organized by the China Social Work Association, the seminar released a joint announcement yesterday, calling for love, responsibility and respect among family members to build a harmonious family.

China saw 1.613 million divorces last year, a jump of 21.2 per cent over 2003, according to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Domestic violence affects 30 per cent of Chinese families, a recent survey conducted by the All-China Women's Federation showed.

Of 270 million families in China, more than 100,000 break up every year because of domestic violence, according to the survey.

"Building up a complete legal system and a sound moral environment is the best way to redress the situation," said Professor Yang Dawen with the Remin University of China in Beijing.

Experts and social work specialists have exchanged ideas on promoting awareness of family harmony.

China's civil administration organs should educate people to take a more cautious attitude to marriage, said Professor Wu Changzhen, an expert in marriage and family law with the China University of Politics and Law.

Wu said he believes there are two major ways to build a harmonious family: One is to seek a sensible marriage and the other is to solve family conflict using legal and social avenues.

"There are three main difficult periods of family development: The newly-wed period, the child bearing and birth period and the aged period," Wu said.

"As long as family problems can be solved early on, the difficult periods can be overcome smoothly and family break-up avoided," Wu said.

Experts have said family harmony rather than personal achievement should be one of the most important values in life.

The forum also advocated the strengthening of laws and regulations to aid victims and deter perpetrators of domestic violence.

(China Daily 08/19/2005 page2)

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