Marriage guidance counsellors and their inevitable offshoot, the divorce lawyer, are the latest growth industry to emerge from China’s booming cities.
Divorces rose last year too 1.6 million, up by a fifth on 2003. The government and media are now paying agonised attention to the “quicky” divorce and its irresponsible parent, the “flash” marriage – itself the offspring of romantic, western attitudes to love. The phenomenon is an opportunity for the likes of Shu Xin, a psychology student turned newspaper agony uncle. On the back of columns in Shanghai newspapers, he has set up an all-in-one counselling and divorce company that within a year of its launch boasts six lawyers and 10 new clients every day.