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Wives suing mistresses over gifted properties
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-02 07:33

As the number of mistresses grows in China, the question of whether property given to them by their lovers is legally theirs continues to be an issue.

Judgments by local courts gave the answer: The law does not protect the rights of the mistresses given the property in most cases.

The Ruijin Municipal People's Court in East China's Jiangxi Province decided a case late last month, ruling that a house donated by a man surnamed Wang to his mistress, surnamed Liu, was invalid, the People's Court Daily reported.

According to the court record, Wang met Liu, a divorced woman, in 2004. They bought a house in which to live together.

Wang later donated the house to Liu.

However, Li, Wang's wife, demanded that Liu return the house. Liu refused, and Li went to court.

The court ruled that since the house was bought while Wang and Li were still married, the house was the joint property of the husband and wife, according to law.

When Wang decided to donate the house to Liu without asking permission from Li, the legal property rights of the wife were infringed and the donation was judged invalid, according to court sources.

Yang Dawen, a law professor at Renmin University in Beijing, agreed with the court's judgment.

"According to the Marriage Law, properties acquired during the time period of continued existence of marriage are owned by husband and wife together unless they have special agreements," he told China Daily.

"But I believe that the one who infringed the wife's legal property rights was the husband, instead of the mistress."

Yang said the wife should sue the husband instead.

A second case, decided by the Gulou District People's Court in Nanjing of East China's Jiangsu Province, agreed with Yang's view. The court rejected the wife's claim against her husband's mistress.

Wu Haiyang gave his mistress Xiao Yun 210,000 yuan (US$25,900). Qian Ya, Wu's wife, sued Xiao, Nanjing Daily reported.
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