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CHINESE WOMEN SEND DIVORCE RATE SKYWARD

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China's smartest women are dumping their husbands in droves, one of the factors behind a divorce rate that has more than doubled since 1979, according to a nationwide survey.

The survey results, published by the official Xinhua news agency Wednesday, said that China's divorce rate was increasing by 10 percent each year as traditional ideas of love, sex and marriage change."Now, 70 percent of all divorce cases are initiated by wives and 86.1 percent of these women are intellectuals," Xinhua said, adding that 60 percent of divorce cases were filed by people under 35.

China logged 655,000 divorces in 1988, the most recent year for which statistics were given, compared with 319,000 cases in 1979, Xinhua said.

The survey said that extra marital affairs accounted for about 25 percent of the country's divorce cases, while "inharmonious sexual relations" accounted for almost 38 percent.

"Although 42 percent of divorcees make a pretense of seeking to remarry, many actually prefer to remain single," Xinhua said, adding that China has 2 million singles between the ages of 28 and 49.

The survey said divorces were more common in the families of actors, people working away from home and China's growing class of small-scale entrepreneurs.

While many divorce cases land in court, most Chinese hope to be able to divorce amicably, the survey said.

"Some wives and husbands even hold divorce parties and dances or travel and indulge in other activities before they finally divorce," it said.