A marriage in China between a foreigner and a Chinese citizen or between two foreigners is considered a "foreign-related marriage". According to Article 147 of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, marriage of a Chinese citizen to a foreigner shall be bound by the law of the place where they get married. Therefore, partners contemplating a foreign-related marriage in China must follow the procedures stipulated by Chinese law. Marriages in China, regardless of the nationality of those being married, are registered according to the laws of China. It is important to understand that neither diplomats nor consulate officials of the foreigner's own country, nor clergy of any country, have the authority to perform marriages in China.
Under the current marriage law of the People's Republic of China, marriage registration is administered by the local offices of civil affairs. If one of the partners is a Chinese citizen, the appropriate marriage registration office shall be the one designated by the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, and the one that is stationed in the locality where the residency (hukou) of the Chinese citizen is registered. If both partners are foreigners, the registration office shall be the one located in the city where one of them lives or both of them live. Generally speaking, at least one of the partners must reside in China. Two foreigners on a temporary visit with tourist visas shall not be able to register to marry in China.