China Makes Male Rape a Crime Amid Increasing Sexual Assaults

K J M Varma/Beijing

Sexual assaults on men in China will be treated as a crime punishable with a minimum five year jail term as an amendment to the criminal law came into effect today amid an increase in such cases in the country.

The sexual assault of men was not previously listed as an offence under Chinese law. It is now a crime after an amendment to the Criminal Law that took effect today, state- run Xinhua news agency reported.

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The amendment, adopted by the top legislature in August, stipulates that indecent assault on others, men or women, now carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison.

In the former law, the clause "others" was "women," the report said.

The amendment was carried out amid increasing sexual attacks on men by men. Until now, it was difficult to file cases involving male sexual assault.

In 2010, a security guard sexually abused his male colleague in the employee dormitory. Instead of being charged with sexual assault, the offender was convicted on the lesser charge of intentional injury and jailed for 12 months.

In a case in Luzhou of Sichuan Province last year, a man was robbed and raped by another man. The attacker was never charged for sexual assault, according to media reports.

In addition, the revised law repealed the crime of sex with underage prostitutes and reclassified it as rape. Under the previous law, people who have sex with prostitutes less than 14 years old face a maximum of 15 years in prison, while those convicted of raping a child may face the death sentence.

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Recent studies have shown Gay and Lesbian culture is fast spreading in China with growing acceptance as a survey pointed to positive view of it among the majority of people.

Fifty-nine per cent of 2,400 residents interviewed in a survey said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 per cent of respondents know gay people, state-run Global Times reported today.

Early this year, the father of a Chinese gay man has written to 1000 legislators asking them to initiate moves to bring about a law legalising homosexual marriage during the parliament session beginning from tomorrow.

In his letter, 61-year-old Lin Xianzhi hoped his proposals could help secure equal rights for homosexual couples including medical care, inheritance and property purchases.

Last month, China made HIV and AIDS prevention first lesson in college in a bid to increase awareness among students after surveys pointed to its spread in colleges and universities.

An official survey last year said nearly 2,200 cases of HIV involving students age 15 and above had been reported nationwide, compared with 1,772 the previous year, the National Centre for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control and Prevention said.

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