MARRIAGE ACROSS THE TAIWAN STRAIT:MALE MIGRANTS, MARITAL DESIRE AND SOCIAL LOCATION.

Joseph Leo Cichosz
PhD Thesis 2011

This dissertation addresses the ways in which government policies and agendas, media representations, local histories and perceptions influence marriage patterns across the Taiwan Strait. While socio-economic interactions between the Republic of China (Taiwan or ROC) and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC or Mainland China) have deepened in recent years, both governments continue to often have conflicting agendas and policies aimed at supporting their own goals. As a result, Taiwan promotes a policy of careful interaction with Mainland China which is reflected in Taiwan's strict immigration policies with regard to Mainland brides who are considered a threat to Taiwan's "population quality" (renkou suzhi).The PRC, on the other hand, has established policies aimed at increasing economic and social integration with Taiwan. Taiwanese men on the Mainland enjoy preferential treatment, particularly in China's Special Economic Zones. As more people travel across the Taiwan Strait, the number of cross-Strait (PRC-ROC), marriages have increased on the Mainland. Traditional marriage and kinship practices such as patrilocal marriages are often cited as primary factors in influencing women's place in Chinese society (Davin 2008, Johnson 1983, Lu 1997, Watson1991). However, a Mainland woman who marries a Taiwanese man and sets up a household near her natal home can have a very different experience. This practice, in turn, has in some cases led to more flexibility with regard to gender roles and mutual upward social mobility for both partners on the Mainland. Finally this dissertation contributes to the academic literature regarding cross-border marriage and "global hypergamy," which usually refers to women from less developed, poorer regions who attempt to "marry up" by finding husbands in a more developed, richer area(Constable 2005). In this study, I consider a very different situation; men who migrate from amore developed region (Taiwan) to areas that are being developed (SEZ's). While most did not migrate for the express purpose of marrying, these unions formed as a result of the migration process. Examining these relationships reveal some interesting insights into the ways that recent shifts in the global economic landscape related to China's economy influence marriage pattern sand marital relations.