In Legal First, Chinese court grants quashing of hidden HIV status


A Shanghai court annulled a marriage on Monday because a man had not told his partner he was HIV-positive beforehand, becoming the first such case based on the laws of China’s new civil code.

The Minhang District People’s Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, surnamed Li, who filed a lawsuit to have her marriage annulled after her husband, surnamed Jiang, confessed to living with HIV for several years and taking drugs. drugs to control autoimmune disease.

According to the court, the couple got married in June after Li got pregnant. Although Jiang insisted that her illness was not contagious at the time and that the possibility of transmitting the virus to Li and their baby was low, she chose to terminate the pregnancy and continue in. cancelation. Li was not infected while living with her husband.

Under the Chinese Civil Code, if a person conceals a “serious illness” before marriage, his or her spouse has the right to seek annulment by going to court.

Although the Civil Code does not specify which illnesses are to be considered “serious”, courts can rule on a case-by-case basis, and the plaintiff has the right to seek compensation for psychological trauma, Zhang Huan’e, attorney at Shanghai Landing Law Offices, Sixth Tone said.

The new legal provision gives people more options, she said. Before the Civil Code, people in such situations usually filed for divorce, which irrevocably changes the official marital status, in addition to taking more time and resources than an annulment. “The law also stresses the importance of respecting and protecting the right of choice of both parties in a marriage,” said the lawyer.

The Minhang District Court’s ruling sparked heated discussion on the microblogging platform Weibo, where a related hashtag was viewed more than 760 million times as of Tuesday afternoon. Many internet users have also stressed the importance of taking pre-marriage health exams, which are no longer mandatory for couples wishing to marry since 2003.

In December, authorities in southwest Yunnan Province issued new regulations regarding HIV status disclosures. The rule, due to go into effect in March, will require people undergoing health checks to tell their partners if they are HIV-positive. In case of refusal, the medical staff will be authorized to intervene.

Publisher: David Paulk.

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