An online columnist’s suggestion that marriage licences should only be issued for seven year periods has sparked a heated debate in China. Lu Guoping wrote on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that marriage certificates should only be valid for a limited time as many couples cannot get through the “seven-year itch” in a relationship when the initial strong attraction supposedly starts to wane. His comments come amid rising divorce rates in China. READ MORE: Heartbreaking news: China’s divorce rate jumps 13pc as more choose to untie the knot “If a certificate is only valid for seven years, you can renew it afterwards, or it will automatically expire,” Lu wrote. “In that case, every person has at least five opportunities to get married and you don’t need to worry about marrying the wrong person,” Lu said. His comments were later removed from his social media account. Lu came up with six advantages to marrying for seven years -- try more relationships and reduce affairs, brave yourself for another marriage, boost the economy since you need to buy homes and cars again if you remarry, increase women’s financial independence, reduce divorce rates and children will receive care from more parents. A time limit would reduce people’s sense of responsibility to their families Lu Mingsheng, expert on family law in China Lu’s bold advice has been picked up by several mainland media outlets and led to a debate online among thousands of internet users who appear to be mostly critical of his ideas. Some felt setting a time limit would reduce the sacredness of marriage and make it not much different from signing a labour contract. It could also provide excuses for those who have affairs, other argued. Lu Mingsheng, an expert on family law, told the Shanghai-based news website Thepaper.cn that it was not necessary to set a time limit on marriage certificates as couples could file for divorce under the protection of the law. “A time limit would reduce people’s sense of responsibility to their families,” he added. His thoughts were echoed by Wei Shaoling, a family lawyer, who told Thepaper.cn that setting a time limit was against the freedom of marriage and could lead to more social problems. READ MORE: Divorces soar and more remain unmarried in loveless Hong Kong Lu defended his ideas to Thepaper.cn. “A validation period could provide warnings to married couples: marriage is neither the grave of love nor the end of romance,” he was quoted as saying. More than 3.6 million Chinese couples filed for divorce in 2014, a rise of 3.9 per cent compared with the previous year.