A man has been ordered by a Beijing divorce court to compensate his wife for the housework she did during their marriage, in a landmark ruling.
The woman will receive 50,000 yuan ($7,700; N3 million) for five years of unpaid labour.
Mixed reactions have greeted the case, with a debate erupting over the value of domestic work as some say the compensation amount was too little.
The ruling follows China’s introduction of a new civil code.
Court documents showed that the man simply identified as Chen, had filed for divorce last year from his wife, surnamed Wang, after getting married in 2015.
She was initially reluctant to divorce, but later requested financial compensation, arguing that Chen had not shouldered any housework or childcare responsibilities for their son.
Beijing’s Fangshan District Court ruled in her favour, ordering her husband to pay her monthly alimony of 2,000 yuan, (N118k) as well as the one-off payment of 50,000 yuan (N3m) for the housework she has done.
The presiding judge told reporters on Monday that the division of a couple’s joint property after marriage usually entails splitting tangible property. “But housework constitutes intangible property value,” said the judge.
The new civil code in the country which came into effect this year, gave backing to the ruling.
Under the new law, a spouse is entitled to seek compensation in a divorce if he or she bears more responsibility in child raising, caring for elderly relatives, and assisting partners in their work.
Previously, divorcing spouses could only request such compensation if a prenuptial agreement had been signed – an uncommon practice in China.