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China makes it easier for couples to say 'I do'

Thursday, October 2, 2003

BEIJING -- Marriage in China used to be a matter for a man, a woman -- and the couple's employers. No longer.

On Wednesday, China eliminated a much-resented requirement for couples to obtain their bosses' approval before tying the knot, prompting thousands of couples to wed in what, for some, was also a celebration of the retreat of outside interference in their private lives.

Couples lined up as early as 5 a.m. outside marriage registration offices. Restaurants and hotel banquet halls were booked solid in major cities, and Beijing's streets were clogged with flower-bedecked motorcades.

"Employers in work units used to have a lot of power over people, but now there's no need," said newlywed Wen Ying, who was having a late-night snack with her new husband and friends at a small restaurant near the Forbidden City, Beijing's ancient imperial palace.

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