Hong Kong Rejects Consent Reform
The Data Lounge,
July 25, 2002
HONG KONG—A group of gay civil rights activists in
Hong Kong lodged a formal complaint with the territory’s equal opportunities
commission, charging Hong Kong sodomy and consent laws violate equal
"There are people who fall victim to this law every year," the
Reuters news agency quotes 28-year-old Tommy Chen, who said several friends
and acquaintances have been arrested on the consent statutes.
Hong Kong can imprison a man for life for having intercourse with another
male who is under 21. The law has no such prohibition against having sex with
women under the age of 21, Chen said. "Such discrimination is so obvious,
but the government still refuses to amend the laws."
The government said there is no need for change, citing tradition and what
authorities euphemistically call "local circumstance."
"Despite a lower age of consent for homosexual intercourse in some
other countries ... it would be inappropriate for Hong Kong to follow other
countries without due regard to the local circumstances," the Home
Affairs Bureau said in a statement.
The bureau said that the law is intended to keep young men from being
"corrupted" by predatory older men until they are mature enough to
make such decisions on their own. Officials said, too, the law prevents
younger men from blackmailing older sex partners.
"They may fall prey to blackmail by the younger male person," the
bureau said in a statement.
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