Absconding husbands, homeless wives and helpless creditors: Safeguarding the interests of stakeholders during enforcement proceedings

Alvin Sia

LLM Candidate,  Peking University School of Transnational Law

Women’s property rights were restricted by social norms in imperial China.[1] Property was passed down through male heirs.[2] In most cases, wives could not inherit property upon their husband’s death.[3] Most property brought by a wife into marriage belonged to her husband’s family.[4] Meanwhile, a wife was beholden to her father before marriage and subordinate to her husband after marriage.[5] Against this backdrop, there is a Chinese saying that “a wife pays for her husband’s debts”.[6]

This saying still holds true under existing marriage laws of the People’s Republic of China. Creditors may enforce against property owned jointly by the non-debtor spouse Read the rest