China annuls couple’s marriage after husband ‘hid the fact that he has AIDS from his partner’

A Chinese court has annulled a couple’s marriage after the husband had failed to inform his fiancée that he has AIDS before tying the knot with her.

The court in Shanghai’s Minhang District ruled in favour of the wife who accused her partner of deliberately hiding his illness from her until after their shotgun marriage last June.

The wife, who initiated the lawsuit, claimed that she could not accept the fact that her spouse is HIV-positive – even though his condition is under control – the court said.

A Shanghai court ruled in favour of the wife, Ms Li, who accused her spouse of deliberately hiding his illness from her until after they got married due to her pregnancy (file photo)

A Shanghai court ruled in favour of the wife, Ms Li, who accused her spouse of deliberately hiding his illness from her until after they got married due to her pregnancy (file photo)

The woman, who did not contract the disease, went for an abortion. She then submitted her petition for an annulment to the court.

The verdict was handed out on Monday by Shanghai Minhang Courthouse, the court said through a social media post.

It was one of the first marital disputes to be ruled under China’s new Civil Code – instead of the previous Marriage Law – which came into force on January 1.

The case was ruled on Monday by Shanghai Minhang Courthouse. It was among the first marital disputes to be judged under China's new Civil Code, which kicked in on January 1

The case was ruled on Monday by Shanghai Minhang Courthouse. It was among the first marital disputes to be judged under China’s new Civil Code, which kicked in on January 1

According to the court, the plaintiff, known by her surname Li, and her ex, known by his surname Jiang, were introduced by a mutual friend. The pair soon fell in love and moved in together.

In June last year, Ms Li discovered that she had fallen pregnant, so she and Mr Jiang got married.

The court said that not long after their ceremony, Mr Jiang ‘confessed’ to his wife that he had suffered from AIDS for many years and had to take medication long-term.

It said that Mr Jiang insisted it was ‘nearly impossible’ for his wife and their baby to catch the virus from him because of his medication, but Ms Li was ‘unable to’ accept her husband’s condition.

The  stipulates that citizens must 'truthfully inform' their significant others if they have 'major diseases' before registering for marriage

The Civil Code stipulates that citizens must ‘truthfully inform’ their significant others if they have ‘major diseases’ before registering for marriage. The above file picture shows people lining up at an office to register for marriage or divorce in Shanghai on March 6, 2013

Although Ms Li felt that she and her partner had a good relationship, she went for an abortion after ‘much struggle and deliberation’ before seeking to void their marriage from the court, the court added.

The court permitted the annulment based on the newly launched Civil Code.

The law, which replaced the country’s Marriage Law on January 1, stipulates that citizens must ‘truthfully inform’ their significant others if they have ‘major diseases’ before registering for marriage.

In comparison, the previous Marriage Law did not include AIDS in the list of diseases that could lead to an annulment.

Although the husband insisted that it was 'nearly impossible' for his wife and their baby to catch the virus from him because of his medication, the wife refused to accept his condition

Although the husband insisted that it was ‘nearly impossible’ for his wife and their baby to catch the virus from him because of his medication, the wife refused to accept his condition

On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, most readers hailed the court’s decision and condemned Mr Jiang for failing to tell his fiancée about his illness. Some called for imprisonment of the man.

China’s Civil Code is a wide-ranging legislative package that includes 1,260 articles in seven parts, ranging from personality rights to marriage and family affairs, according to state-run newspaper The Global Times

One of its most controversial clauses requires all divorcing couples to observe a 30-day ‘cool-off period‘ before they can officially part their ways.

The strict rule reportedly led marriage bureaus to be inundated with unhappy couples who wished to finalise their divorce last month before the decree took effect in the new year. 

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