Cablegate: Underage Marriage in Taiwan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

110520Z Mar 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Following is AIT Taipei/Kaoshiung's preliminary report
on child marriage in Taiwan. The report is according to
reftel sections, beginning with A. In accordance with the
USG's one-China policy, the use of the word country in
reference to Taiwan is not used in this report.

A) (U) What is the legal age of marriage in your country? Is
it the same for girls and boys? Is there a low legal age for
marriage with parental consent?

Article 980 of Taiwan's Civil Code states that males must be
at least 18 years old and females at least 16 years old to
sanction a legal marriage. In Taiwan, a minor is defined as
a person under the age of 20. Article 981 states that a
minor must have the consent of his or her parents or legal
guardians to marry.

B) (U) To what extent is underage marriage (i.e., lower than
your host country's legal age) a significant problem, either
among the population at large or within one of the minority
groups? To what extent does underage marriage have adverse
affects on the well being of the child?

According to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), underage
marriage is not a significant problem in Taiwan. The average
age of marriage in Taiwan is 33 for men and 27 for women.
According to MOI statistics at the end 2004, only 2 males (of
2,288,831) under the age of 15 were married while 10 (of
2,098,251) females under the age of 15 were married. The
number of married persons aged 15-19 is .03 percent of the
total population, a number comparable to levels in the U.S.

C) (U) Are there currently any U.S. funded initiatives in
your host country that aim to reduce the incidence or address
the negative effects of child marriage? If so, how effective
are these programs? If not, what kinds of programs may be
needed? Are there other existing programs that could also
address child marriage?

There are no U.S. funded initiatives to address child
marriage in Taiwan. Underage marriage is not considered a
significant problem and Taiwan has been cited as a success
story in eliminating underage marriage by the Global Health
Organization and the International Center for Research on

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