China | Discrimination | News

Gay Man Sues The Chinese Government

The LGBT activist, Xiang Xiaohan, is the first gay man to do so. Xiaohan had attempted to register his group, Same-Sex Love Assistance Network, as a non-governmental organization (NGO) but his application was denied. In response, Xiaohan filed a defamation lawsuit in February but the case was thrown out of court earlier this month.

The BBC reports:

_73652347_hunanletterXiang Xiaohan filed the lawsuit in the provincial capital, Changsha, after the Hunan government turned down his application to register his organisation. 

In a written reply to him, the local government said homosexuality had no place in Chinese traditional culture and "the building of spiritual civilisation" - a catchphrase in modern China for what many believe is the party's indoctrination.

"I believe what the government said [in the reply] defames the reputation of the gay and lesbian community in China, and I want them to issue a written apology," said Mr Xiang.

He also wants the government to reverse its decision not to register his organisation. Registering his group as an NGO would enable it to legally receive donations and enjoy tax exemptions.

Some activists point out the importance of the government agency's response to Xiang.

Yu Fang Qiang from Justice For All - a non-profit organisation dedicated to safeguarding the rights of disadvantaged members of the public - said it also marked a significant step forward by the government.

"It is the first time in China that a local government department has formally given a written reply to a request from the gay and lesbian community, whereas in the past the government would just simply ignore it," he told the BBC.

A copy of that letter is above. Xiang intends to appeal the ruling.

Xiang and his organization are active in the fights for LGBT rights in China. Last year, he was arrested for organizing a gay rights march in the city of Changsha. Watch a news report about that march, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. If Chinese officials were smart they would turn the country into one huge gay pride to combat overpopulation.

    Posted by: litper | Mar 30, 2014 2:05:12 PM

  2. Litper,

    Yep, because that's exactly how sexuality works. Gay pride events turn everyone gay, thereby reversing population growth. Pat Robertson, is that you?

    Posted by: shawnthesheep | Mar 30, 2014 2:42:54 PM

  3. no, that's a sad reality that most chinese men are forced to marry women

    Posted by: litper | Mar 30, 2014 2:53:07 PM

  4. *chinese gay men of course

    Posted by: litper | Mar 30, 2014 2:53:30 PM

  5. litper:
    16 million is a small number since their population is 1344 million. The problem lies with the other 1312/2 = 656 million women.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 30, 2014 5:12:07 PM

  6. Guy has balls, for sure.

    It would be useful to the gov't to accommodate "the gays" if for no other reason than to keep the religious elements in their place.

    Gays are a lot less likely to try to overthrow the powers that be (atheistic communists) than christians or muslims.

    Posted by: james st. james | Mar 30, 2014 5:12:16 PM

  7. I hope he stays safe there. Dissidents there seem to have a way of ending up disappearing or winding up dead of unnatural causes.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Mar 30, 2014 10:22:32 PM

  8. "If Chinese officials were smart they would turn the country into one huge gay pride to combat overpopulation."

    There was already a one child policy. That has led to a rapidly aging society and the policy has relaxed as birth rate falls with development anyway. In cities where the law was taken away, the birth rate was still low.

    Homophobia in China is a recent phenomenon from the past 2-3 centuries. Jesuit missionaries reported with horror of the homosexuality that was prevalent in China in the 16-17th centuries.

    If one reads Chinese history, homosexuality has been part and parcel of it since the bronze age. These are in the official history books and it boggles me that chinese people have the nerve to say it is against tradition.

    Our version of Rome was the Han Dynasty which lasted 400 years. The first 10 emperors all had male partners (in addition to female ones). This is mentioned so matter of factly in the history books that no further explanation is needed. There is only elaboration when the male involved affects the course of history. Eg. one of the emperors seems to be exclusively gay and passed the throne on to his lover on his deathbed. That got him killed in the ensuing power struggle.

    It is undeniable that it is part of our tradition when there was even gay marriage in the region of Fujian which was a popular social custom.

    "Gays are a lot less likely to try to overthrow the powers that be (atheistic communists) than christians or muslims."

    Actually in China the opposite is true. Our history shows that large numbers of unmarried single men are a potential source of challenge to the government. That proved itself time and again in history as polygamy, wealth disaprities, gender imbalance meant that many straight men could not find a wife. These men formed brotherhoods and sometimes rebelled. Among them there was sometimes situational homosexuality. So the argument that has been floated to legalize gay marriage again in China is to free up woman in sham marriages to gay men and for these gay men to marry each other. China likes to pre-empt opposition groups forming.

    Religion in China is confucian/taist/buddhist all merged into one and more like a culture/philosophy and less demanding than abrahamic ones.

    While China is lagging behind in gay rights, it has actually moved quite fast considering she was sending them to labour camps a few decades ago and now removed it from a mental illness and government officially treats it as a neutral issue.

    Posted by: Kenny | Apr 12, 2014 9:31:32 PM

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