Fenjia: Household Division and Inheritance in Qing and Republican China

By David Wakefield | Go to book overview

Appendix 1
China's Laws on Inheritance

Tang Law

All the land, housing, and property to be divided must be divided between the brothers equally. (After the father and grandfather die, and the brothers live separately and do not cook together for three years, or if they have fled and six years or more have passed, or if there is no surviving land, housing, stores, workshops, bondservants, or slaves, there can be no discussion of division.)

The property acquired from the wife's family is not included in the divided property. (If the wife is dead, her natal family cannot take back the property she brought, including all property and slaves.)

If any of the brothers is dead, his son(s) take his share. (The appointed heir is the same.)

If all the brothers are dead, their sons divide equally.1 (The father and grandfather's permanent and gift lands are also divided equally. The personal share lands should be divided according to the age and status rules [of the equal fields distribution system]. Even if the land is limited in quantity, it should be divided according to this rule.)2

If a brother is not married, he gets extra property for marriage expenses; if any [father's] sister or daughter is unmarried and in the house, she gets one-half of a brother's marriage expenses. A widow who is without a son receives her husband's share. If all of her husband's brothers are dead, she receives a share equal to one brother's. (If she has a son, she gets nothing more. She is called the "chaste

-211-

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