In China, a marriage license may be the only way to a license plate
Millions can afford to buy a car in China now, but in big cities the right to drive it is harder to come by. In Beijing, marrying the lucky winner of a license plate has become the best option for many, since a plate isn’t tradable but is transferable between husband and wife,
The license-plate lottery, which takes place six times a year, is famous for its low odds. In the latest round in February, the probability of winning a plate was 0.1269%.
One Xinjiang man living in Beijing with his family has posted offers online to pay for a fake marriage after applying through the lottery system for three years with no success.
“There are many people doing this online. Many of my friends got their plates in this way,” said the man, who gave only his surname, Liu.
A fake marriage is just the other side of a fake divorce, which has been used in China to game the real estate market.
Some Shanghai couples scrambled to divorce last year to take advantage of rules requiring a lower down payment from first-time property buyers.
“Marriage in China now tends to be utilitarian and practical,” said Ma Chunhua, a researcher from the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.