Chinese villagers divorce en masse in bid for compensation


More than 160 couples in a village in eastern China have decided to divorce in order to get more compensation after the forced demolition of their homes.

The village of Jiangbei, in Jiangsu province, is being razed to make way for a high-tech development zone.

The couples found they could qualify for two new houses and at least $19,000 (£15,500) extra if they divorced and claimed compensation as singles.

Some are over 80, and most said they planned to continue living together.

Families who have been living there for generations have little choice but to move to new housing provided by the local government.

Each couple could expect to get one 220 sq m house.

But the families read the fine print and realised that if they were divorced through the courts, they could also claim an extra 70 sq m property and some cash in compensation.

A law firm is charging more than $2,000 (£1,600) to help people with their divorces, China Daily reports.

Some of the couples are expecting to remarry at a later date.

"Everybody is doing this, we will deal with other things later," one villager told the Nanjing Morning Post.

It is not clear whether any of the couples will actually receive the extra compensation.

Officials say they are aware of the loophole and do not know whether the compensation arrangements will be changed.

Similar cases have occurred before in the area of Nanjing, Jiangsu's regional capital, China Daily reported.

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