Chinas Landmark Decision on Homosexuality
Greenwich Village Gazette,
October 15, 1999
New York, NY
By Jack Nichols
Attention gay businessmen of all nations! Beware of now-legal mainland Chinese traps.
In what the South China Morning Post (October 13) has called "a landmark
decision," Zhang Lihua, a thirty-something female judge of the Xuanwu District Court,
has decided that homosexuality is abnormal and thus characterized same-sex love as
unacceptable behavior among Chinas citizens.
"It is the first time a mainland court has ruled on the nature of
homosexuality," writes Mark ONeill, a Beijing-based reporter. Prior to this
ruling, he explains, anti-gay prejudices, while existing, have never before been ensconced
as legally permissible.
In a cruel reversal of pending Hate Crime legislation in the United States Congress,
therefore, the Chinese Court has institutionalized anti-gay sentiments, placing the full
authority of Chinese courts against same-sex love and affection. The Courts target
is the author of a book which, by its very title, could be considered by party
conservatives as damaging to the reputation of the nation.
Fang Gang, 31, author of Homosexuals in China (released April, 1995) and his publisher,
Jilin Peoples Publishing House were defendants in this "literary-slander
The author said: "I feel the judgment is unfair. It is for doctors, not judges, to
say if homosexuality is abnormal."
The suits initiator, who was an un-named character in Homosexuals in China, but
who is now identified as Mr. Xu, sued Fang Gang and his publisher for 60,000 yuan
(HK$55,000) charging hed suffered Chinese-style anti-gay prejudice, a consequence of
the "slanderous book in which he was not named.
Homosexuals in China, since publication, has sold 70,000 copies in this populous
nation. Mr. Xu (un-named in the book) is described in its pages as the manager of a dance
hall in which a gay Valentines Day party is held with approximately 50 persons attending.
The book indicates that the dance hall manager is a homosexual and explains that hed
also volunteered as a gay telephone hotline operator.
Mr. Xus presentation to the court blamed the book for making him subject to what
he called suspicion and criticism by acquaintances and family members. His fiancÚ spurned
him, he lamented, and he, although unnamed, has now reportedly found himself an outcast in
Whats more, the former unnamed dance hall operator has not since publication, he
alleged, been able to find a job.
Judge Zhang Lihua found in favor of Mr. Xu, awarding him 9,000 yuan damages, 7,000 to
be paid by the books author and 2,000 by his publishing house. The award was to
compensate Mr. Xu following his having been alluded to in Homosexuals in China, for those
undoubted psychological damages and job losses he claimed hed endured.
China watchers scoffed at this latest attempt by established authorities to regulate
Some fear that Chinese officialdom is, through this decision, making a concerted
attempt to quash the growth of gay grapevines in China over which they can have no Big
Communist Party stalwarts, they note, want underlings on hand to be seen and heard at
all times. Currently the government is persecuting the mostly invisible members of an
outlawed exercise-prone religious revival, although it is popular, peaceful, quiet and
People everywhere, says critic Steve Yates, must never forget the official Chinese
governments reaction to Chinas peaceful democratic counterculture movement of
1989. While citizens of other lands helplessly watched on TV, the Chinese government
consciously marched on and mowed-down thousands of its own idealistic, non-violent 60s
style youth. "It was Kent State very much magnified and as much or more cold
blooded," notes Yates, referring to 1970 Ohio campus shootings by U.S. military
guards and their killings of several unarmed college students.
"The courts decision, so blatantly sympathetic to the plight of Mr. Xu could
signal the states resolve to set the stage in McCarthyite fashion to persecute and
prosecute accused homosexuals at will," cautioned Yates.
The court decision says:
"Homosexuality in China today is considered as abnormal sexual behavior and is not
acceptable to the public."
"Therefore, by describing the plaintiff as a homosexual without any proof, Fang
Gang brought depression and psychological pain to him [Mr Xu] and affected his life and
work, infringing his reputation."
This Xuanwu District Court verdict was delivered September 30. Fang, whose lawyer
remains supportive, has suggested that hes given thought to an appeal of the
judges decision before the weekend.
Jack Nichols is Senior Editor at GayToday, a popular online newsmagazine: www.gaytoday.badpuppy.com.
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