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The East is Pink

by melvin Sat Dec 31st, 2005 at 03:37:52 AM EST

From the front page, with format edit ~ whataboutbob

An article appeared in  China Daily for December 27 on the future of gay China entitled "Quiet pink revolution in dark before dawn?" (You've got to love China Daily's headlines.) It is well worth reading in its entirety.

Little over four years ago, homosexuality was still officially classified as a mental disorder in China. On December 16, 2005, China's gays and lesbians celebrated their first national festival.

In fact, the festival was disrupted by the government before it began. But never mind. The China Daily article continues:

In 1997, the word "hooligan" was deleted from China's criminal code in reference to gays arrested for soliciting in public places.

The move is considered by many as the de facto decriminalization of homosexual acts and was followed in April 2001 by the deletion of homosexuality from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders.

   Chinese bear

There follows a lengthy, if dry, discussion of the gay scene in China and interviews with two young gay men. In the discusson of lifestyles, the subject of gay marriage comes up.

Sociologist and gay novelist Tong Ge's impassioned call for "comrades to melt the frozen land with our body heat"
       (Impassioned? Sounds to me like someone hasn't been getting any lately.)
galvanized Chinese professionals into lobbying the government for the approval of same-sex marriage, regardless of the very real obstacles lying ahead.

Zhang Beichuan, China's leading scholar in the field of homosexual study and winner of 2000 Barry & Martin Prize awarded to individuals making outstanding contributions to the AIDS awareness campaign, estimates there are 40 million homosexuals on the Chinese mainland, far more than the official figure of between 5 and 10 million released by the Ministry of Health in December 2004. This huge number, equal to the population of Spain, can no longer be ignored by society


Currently, there are more than 10 bars catering to gays and lesbians across urban Beijing, according to An {owner of a lesbian bar}. Moreover, hundreds of websites are devoted to the gay scene in China, with almost every city having a dedicated site.

Anyone smell an investment opportunity here? A little crowding can be a good thing in a bar, but if the population of Beijing is 15 million, it would seem that the gay community there is sorely underserved.

Li Yinhe is described as the country's leading sexologist. (There is an interesting interview with her here.) She is backing same-sex marriage as population policy:

Li, who submitted the same-sex marriage proposal to China's top legislature twice, in 2000 and in 2004, said from historical data and cross-culture study, countries that are burdened with a fast-growing population normally adopt a relatively tolerant policy toward homosexuals; while countries with small populations are strict with same-sex marriage, because the homosexual population will directly influence the whole population of a country.

"Statistics show that homosexuals account for 3 to 4 percent of the total population. In China, the homosexual population is between 39 million and 52 million. As there is no law permitting same-sex marriage, those people will finally form a family with a heterosexual and bear children. If they can form a family with a homosexual, then it will be conducive to the population control of our country," said Li who has suggested an amendment to the Marriage Law that "changes the wife and husband expression into spouse and the enactment of a new same-sex marriage law. Although her proposals have not met with success, she remains optimistic about the future of the same-sex marriage.


"It is a legislative trend across the world," said Li Yinhe. "China will definitely catch up with this trend, in spite of obstacles we are confronted with now."

Two things fascinate me here. One is the promotion of homosexuality as a means of population control. This has long made sense to me but it is seldom mentioned outside of science fiction.

The other is the very real possibility that China will recognize same-sex marriage before the US.

Thank you for this article...thought provoking...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 05:40:37 AM EST
oh, and I actually never thought of homosexuality as population control...and I know numerous gay/Lesbian couples who either want to have children or want to adopt...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 05:43:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
China's imbalance for those between 15-64 yrs it is 1.06/1.0 that translates into 477,182,072 males for 450,664,933 females (CIA World Factbook). That leaves over 26 million males (about the entire population of Belgium and the Netherlands or about the population of Texas and Oklahoma) spouseless unless something is done.

The even more forboding numbers are for those under 15 yrs, 1.1 males/1.0 females or 148,134,928 males for 131,045,415 females. That's about one million more males than females every year.

Given China's sex ratio imbalance this has only got to make sense. What surprises me is that the government allows these researchers to make these comments. I would have thought that these types of comments would not be allowed to be covered even in an English language press outlet like China Daily. If there are any experienced China watchers, please give us your own insights, but the sign of debate on a topic in China is generally a portent of things to come. Or maybe this is another incidence of China thinking not three years ahead, but 300 years ahead.

What tremendous irony it would be if China decriminalized homosexuality and legalized some sort of living arrangement for same-sex couples before the US did.

by gradinski chai on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 09:15:28 AM EST
Exactly what I was looking for. Comment from someone knowledgeable on China. It is interesting, for instance, that the gay and lesbian 'cultural festival' is praised in China Daily, and disrupted by the government.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 11:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand how this got moved to Dec 31? Any explanation? It was several days ago.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sun Jan 1st, 2006 at 03:21:51 AM EST

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