Many LGBTQ couples feel excluded from Chinese society. It is easy to imagine their situation. They have no legal recognition or official status and sometimes this leads to tragedies.
For example, He Qin lost her wife Li, who died of an illness a few years ago, and not only was she devastated by this loss, but she also lost everything. Their apartment was under her wife’s name and Li’s parents wanted it back. He had no rights in the eyes of the law and thus found herself homeless. Not only did she lose the one she loved, but she also lost their home.
Of course, her case is special, and this does not happen to all couples, but there are other stories, other cases showing a significant legal void.
The particularity of China is that marriage equality is not legal, but it is not illegal either. There is no official prohibition.
And it would appear that the government is using this particularity, this absence of prohibition, as a pretext not to change the existing law that nevertheless defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
LGBTQ couples have decided to act rather than wait for the government to decide. They took part in the consultation launched by the National People’s Congress, which is the legislative assembly in China, hoping to reach the 100,000 suggestions tabled.
Under the presidency of Xi Jinping, it is difficult to achieve more equality as freedoms were reduced. The Internet is increasingly censored, human rights activists and lawyers are arrested. This battle for the legalization of marriage equality won’t be easy.
The good news is that the goal of 100,000 suggestions submitted has not only been reached, but it has been doubled! Yes, 200,000 people submitted their opinions and wishes! Most of them are LGBTQ couples, accompanied and supported by their families.
“A lot of people told me that this is the first time they’ve participated in the legal process,” said Peng Yanzi, director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, one of the groups running the campaign.
The LGBTQ community in China has changed its strategy. It thus took part massively in the public consultation launched by the National People’s Congress on a draft of the Marriage and Family portion of the Civil Code.
Photo by AFP