Shandong domestic violence rule raises hopes from LGBT

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/23 23:28:41

Performance artists wearing wedding dresses splattered in fake blood take a stand against domestic violence on February 14 in Qianmen, Dongcheng district. Photo: Guo Yingguang

East China's Shandong government has released a draft regulation against domestic violence which raised hopes from LGBT groups that has long called on the country's legislature to revise laws to protect gays from domestic violence.

The existing national Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which took effect in March 2016, is applicable to "people living together but are not family."

However, Guo Linmao, a legislative official from the National People's Congress (NPC) told a news conference after the national law was approved in 2015 that same-sex relationships are not protected by this law.

The draft of the Shandong Anti-Domestic Violence Regulation states in Chapter 6 Article 53 that the regulation protects cohabitation relations, raising hopes from some that the legal protection could expand to homosexuals.

The executive director of Trans Center, a Beijing-based NGO, who identified herself as h.c. Zhuo, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Shandong's regulation may set the legal basis for LGBT people to defend themselves against domestic violence.

Statistics show more gay people suffer from domestic abuse than straight people. Some 68.97 percent of the 419 respondents reported that they have been abused on lesbians, according to China LGBT Domestic Violence Report released by Common Language, an NGO advocating for LGBTI rights in 2014.

The draft may prompt LGBT people to seek help from NGOs, Zhuo said, adding that many fear an unwilling coming-out if they resort to the police or the court.

Although legal representatives can report domestic violence to relevant authorities for the victims based on the national law, LGBT people can hardly use it since their status was not clearly stated in the guideline-like law, Zhuo explained.

In addition to violence in partnerships, the regulation also protects LGBT people from their parents, Zhuo said, and the 2014 report showed that 49.16 percent of respondents have been abused by their parents over their sexual orientation and expression.

"Shandong's draft facilitates a 'down-to-earth' implementation of the national law and I hope it will be a model for other provinces to revise their regulation against domestic violence, Zhuo said. 

However, Fang Gang, an expert on gender and psychological studies at Beijing Forestry University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that it is unlikely to prompt an amendment of the national law in the short-run.

"The Anti-Domestic Violence law must be compatible with the existing Marriage Law, which does not recognize gay marriage," said Fang. 

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