China One Child Policy: Galloping abortion and Homosexuality!

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Homosexuality in China
    同性恋在中国

    In China, where tradition reigns, homosexuality is no longer taboo. What is the view from those living in the country?
    在传统思想主导的中国,同性恋已不再成为一个禁忌的话题。现在生活在中国境内的同性恋人群对这一现象又有什么看法呢?



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    Beijing's 'happy couples' launch campaign for same-sex marriages

    Hong Kong native Joe Lam knew he was different. As a 14-year-old, he began to wonder if he was gay, confused by his attraction to boys. But with no portrayals of gay people in the media, no discussion of gays and no Internet, he wasn’t quite sure what he was. He only knew he was different.

    When he was 21, Lam traveled outside of Hong Kong for the first time. In London, he witnessed gay men holding hands on the street, something he had never seen before. Having been exposed to a different world, he returned to Hong Kong and immersed himself in a new life.

    He was soon living with his boyfriend and had come to terms with being gay. Yet he had still to confront one major obstacle – he hadn’t come out to his family, worried how his traditional Chinese family would react. For New Year’s dinner, he asked if he could bring his roommate. His mom said yes.

    “Let’s be honest, he’s my partner,” Lam told his mom.

    “Of course I know, I’m your mother,” his mom replied.

    Today, 35-year-old Lam is the publisher of Dim Sum Magazine, Hong Kong’s first gay magazine, as well as festival director of the Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Though his parents struggled with the idea of him being gay at first, Lam said they have come to accept it.

    “My mom said to me, as long as you’re happy, I’m fine,” Lam said.

    While Hong Kong has long been ahead of China, Lam’s story is an example of China’s changing attitudes towards homosexuality. In a country where homosexuality was once a taboo subject, increasing numbers of Chinese are becoming more tolerant of homosexuality

    Homosexual intercourse has been legal in Hong Kong since 1991. Prior to this, sodomy was illegal, instituted by British colonial rule. Until 2005, there was also an unequal age of consent in Hong Kong. While the age of consent for heterosexual sex was 16, it was set at 21 for sex between males. However, in 2005, it was found to violate the right to equality and was struck down.

    As for mainland China, well into the 1990s, homosexuality was considered both a crime and a mental illness in the People’s Republic. Gays were prosecuted under the “hooligan” law while the Chinese Psychiatric Association labeled it a mental disease.

    In 1997, the Chinese government abolished the hooligan law, an act considered by most to be a decriminalization of homosexuality. In 2001, the Chinese Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list. The association’s evidence included a 1999 study that followed the lives of 51 Chinese gays and lesbians over the course of a year. The group found that only six of the subjects had emotional disorders.

    Since then, the Chinese gay community has rapidly expanded, with dozens of gay bars and hangout spots across the country, hundreds of Chinese gay websites, and many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) organizations. These groups help organize gay rights campaigns, HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, film festivals and pride parades.

    Public attitudes are also changing, with many people growing more accepting of gays. The vast majority of educated, young people in urban areas have no problem with homosexuality.

    “You’ve got 50 and 60-year-old men coming out, young teenagers coming out, everyone coming out,” says Kenneth Tan, a native Singaporean who has been living in Shanghai for the past seven years. “There is a lot of energy in the scene right now because all these people are coming out for the first time in their life, in the life of the community and the history of modern China. There is a great sense of freshness to the scene.”

    Fudan University in Shanghai offered China’s first undergraduate gay studies course in 2003. A China chapter of PFLAG, an organization for parents, family and friends of lesbians and gays, was established in 2007. Gay publications have sprouted up as well as other “gay” businesses, restaurants and shops frequented by mostly gay patrons.

    Tong Yu, known as Common Language in English, is a Beijing support and rights group for lesbian and bisexual women founded in 2005. Its founder, Xu Bin, says that at the time there were no lesbian groups and only about thirty gay groups. Now she estimates there are several hundred gay and lesbian groups throughout China.

    The Beijing LGBT Center, founded in 2008 by four LGBT groups including Common Language, even began issuing symbolic “marriage certificates” to gay couples.

    Hong Kong hosted its first gay pride parade in December 2008, attracting approximately 1,000 people. The second parade was held in November 2009.

    2009 also saw the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

    Lam, the festival director, said last year the festival drew 6,000 visitors, including people from China who came to see films banned on the mainland. Over the years, Lam has witnessed changes in the gay population.

    “We used to see quite a few people who would wear big jackets trying to disguise themselves as they go into the cinema, but we’re seeing less and less,” Lam says.

    The change is indicative of the growing gay community and the growing numbers of gays coming out in China.

    Tan, who serves as editor-at-large for the popular website Shanghaiist.com, has watched the Shanghai scene grow up.

    “When I first came here, the bars were hidden and had to be very quiet, and now it’s like we’ve got huge bars that cater to different segments of the population,” he said. “If you’re a middle-aged Chinese gentleman, you go here. If you like big burly men, go here. The scene has developed to the point that you see very measurable social stratification going on.”

    China had its first gay pride event in Shanghai in June 2009, consisting of plays, film screenings, discussions and parties scattered throughout one week. The event, called Shanghai Pride, attracted a few thousand people from all over China.

    While police did monitor the events and plans for a parade were called off, the fact they were able to hold the event is a testament to the progress China has made. In 2004, a different group tried to hold a similar event in Beijing, but was shut down. Tan thinks the fact that Shanghai is away from the political center of Beijing enabled them to hold the event.

    “People didn’t think it was possible,” says Tan, who served as one of the masterminds behind the event. “We had a small, humble start, but it was a good one. These individuals have been coming out for a while and this pride event gives them a reason to come out collectively as a community.”

    US-China Today: Homosexuality in China

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    China is a real fascinating country.

    They are very westernised.

    Homosexuality is no longer a taboo, but is welcomed and they have same sex marriage campaigning!

    Must be at the MacDonalds in miniskirts and jeans!
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China's Growing Problem Of Too Many Single Men

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    n the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, there is a fantastic article entitled “The Demographic Future” by Nicholas Eberstadt, where he introduces what the world of 2030 will look like from a demographic standpoint. As he explains:

    “It is already possible to draw a reasonably reliable profile of the world’s population in 2030. This is, of course, because the overwhelming majority of those who will inhabit the world 20 years from now are already alive. As a result, one can make some fairly confident estimates of important demographic trends, including manpower availability, the growth in the number of senior citizens, and the resulting support burden on workers.”

    Mr. Eberstadt spends a portion of his essay on China’s future situation, and he paints an outlook most people familiar with China’s demographic trends have known for some time: a doubling of the number of senior citizens, a shrinking of the younger working class, and rudimentary social welfare and pension systems incapable of coping with the massive imbalance.

    This coming reality is shared by the U.S. and all developed nations, except China’s is pushed to the extremes because of its much larger population, much poorer per capita income, much lower education levels and a more ill-equipped pension system.

    Yet, for all these colossal national challenges, Eberstadt’s essay adds one more demographic trend unique to China that will have significant social and cultural implications:

    “…China will face a growing number of young men who will never marry due to the country’s one-child policy, which has resulted in a reported birth ratio of almost 120 boys for every 100 girls…By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married. The coming marriage squeeze will likely be even more acute in the Chinese countryside, since the poor, uneducated and rural population will be more likely to lose out in the competition for brides.”

    Can you even begin to comprehend living in a society where 1 in every 4 adult men you meet will have never married, and not by choice? How could this change the social and cultural dynamics of China?

    Here are some ideas to get you pondering:

    Men Marrying Younger Women

    If a man cannot find a woman to marry in his peer group, perhaps he will find greater opportunity to marry a girl of a younger generation. By then, perhaps this man will have saved a little more money and may be desirable enough for a younger woman (and that young woman’s family) to consider. In fact, this is already a part of China’s reality today. It is quite common to meet Chinese couples where the man is 10, 20 or 30 years older than his wife. Chinese men are already putting off marriage until they can properly afford to provide for a wife and family. Chinese pragmatism and a continued income-imbalance based on gender play roles here. Perhaps the demographics of 2030 will show this trend to strengthen and become even more commonplace in the population instead of shrinking.

    Sexuality in Question

    There is great support on both sides of the argument as to whether homosexuality is a genetic or social outcome. However, if you are persuaded that homosexuality is in part influenced by social factors, then it is worthwhile to explore what impact such a large population of unmarried men might have on the issue of sexual orientation. There is already a thriving LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and subculture in China, but as ‘coming out’ continues to find acceptance and support in the younger generations, will this significant gender imbalance have any effect on the perspective of the LGBT community in the China’s future mainstream consciousness?


    Anger and Frustration

    The prospect of never finding a life partner can be one of the greatest fears in a person’s life. In a culture like China’s, where the mainstream societal expectation continues to put heavy emphasis on progeny, family network strength and family unit establishment as a benefit to status-building, for these one in four adult Chinese males, being single adds extra dimensions of undesirability. Deep personal anger and frustrations must inevitably be a byproduct of these societal pressures.

    If these single men will be found predominantly in a single demographic–namely rural, poor and uneducated men–what we might see is the emergence of a distinct subgroup of people, or a new class segregation. An entire class of potentially angry, frustrated, relatively poor and uneducated single men can mean serious threats to societal stability, if this group builds a class identity that feels antagonized by society as a whole. China’s history is full of examples when a group lashes out in defiance and/or violence. This potential new class of single, frustrated men will number in the tens of millions in 2030.

    Resilience of Chinese Endurance

    There are also a number of examples in history of the Chinese (and other Asian cultures) enduring harsh, distressed, unfair circumstances for generations. It speaks to the resilience and strength of Chinese culture in helping the particular afflicted group align its interests with the general collective society, enabling them to live out their lives enduring the pains of their life situation.

    Perhaps this group of single men will not affect anything socially or culturally, but instead stay silent and endure their circumstance as other groups of Chinese have done in the past. For this to happen though will depend on the state and strength of China’s collective culture in the coming 20 years.

    ——-

    The Chinese government has been aware of these demographic trends for some time now. They have known, likely before the rest of the world did, that China’s fertility rate fell below the minimum population-replacement fertility rate (2.1 children per family) more than two decades ago. So why hasn’t the government done anything if it can see the problems that may lie ahead?

    The more immediate challenges China faces must be addressed first. Enacting and maintaining the one-child policy alleviated growing pressures on agriculture and natural resources to give China a chance to shift industries and redirect capital into transforming China into an industrial nation and then a privatized economy. Without first accomplishing the short-term goals, China will never be in a position with the right resources to solve any longer-term issues.

    Second, having a unified, single-minded governing body and a mass society that generally trusts and believes in the decisions of its government does have its unique advantages. And one of those is the ability to enact sweeping and often extreme changes very quickly. The Chinese government thirty years ago asked a nation to limit child bearing to one per family. It is not inconceivable that the same government can ask this same nation thirty years later to double its children–for the betterment of society.

    While the official government rhetoric up until now has shown no changes in the One Child Policy, we are starting to see experimentation in a few selected demographics, and the creation of small policy loopholes that are allowing more Chinese families to legally have more than one child. A good friend of mine, who is a former U.N. officer working on the issue of China’s birth and fertility, concurs with the expectation that China will sooner rather than later reverse its stance on the one-child policy and devise some new form of incentive to drive birthrates up.

    The question is whether the incentives will be enough. One of the biggest concerns facing Chinese families today is how to afford raising one child, let alone two. As a recent article from Reuters explains, some couples who have the opportunity to have a second child still choose only to have one as the costs of living and education are so substantial. In our own research work at China Youthology, we observe an increasing number of young post-80’s and 90’s kids who say they have no desire to have any children at all. They’re simply not interested in a life with parenting responsibilities.

    What this could all mean for the Chinese government is that something a bit stronger than incentives may be needed in order for fertility rates to rise again. But if there is any country that has the political audacity and ability to implement something so drastic, it is China.

    However, for this coming generation of frustrated, single men, any policy changes now are too little too late. This emerging reality is almost here. The only thing we can do now is develop a richer and stronger Chinese culture so they can find some relief from any feelings of alienation or frustration. New initiatives that will help cohesion of family, community and collective social units will be integral in enabling those unable to find a life-partner to cope and have other life-meanings to pursue.

    China's Growing Problem Of Too Many Single Men - Forbes
     

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