Last edited: July 11, 2004

Gays Fight ‘Archaic’ Laws in Hong Kong

United Press International, June 23, 2004

Hong Kong, China—Gay rights activists in Hong Kong are challenging laws that place the age of consent for homosexuals at 21 and threaten life imprisonment for infringement.

Under current laws, sex and “gross indecency” between men aged under 21 is a crime punishable by up to life in prison, whereas the age for consensual heterosexual sex is 16. Lesbian relationships are not mentioned in the law.

The activists are seeking equality under the law, and appealing to the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

Roddy Shaw of Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities called the laws “archaic,” and said his group had taken the issue to the Legislative Council before but “there was no compassion.” He said the legislators were concerned that “gay predators could then go to kids between 16 and 21 and molest them.”

A spokeswoman for the Security Bureau said the issue had been fully considered and debated in 1991. “Homosexuality is still a sensitive subject in our society,” she said.

[Home] [World] [China]