China passed the country’s first domestic violence law yesterday with a landslide majority, which is a landmark move for the country as domestic disputes are traditionally viewed as “private”.
Where as couples who aren’t married but cohabiting are covered under the legislature, same-sex couples are not.
A legislative official from the National People’s Congress Standing Committee legal affairs commission, Guo Linmao, said at a press conference that the new law covers “living together” relationships. This includes guardianship and foster care, as well as cohabitation, but not gay couples.
When speaking to Reuters, he said: “As for homosexuals in our country, we have not yet discovered this form of violence, so to give you a certain answer, it can be said that people who cohabit does not include homosexuals.”
According to the new Chinese law, domestic abuse covers physical, psychological and other harm inflicted by family members with beatings, restraint or forcible limits on physical liberty, recurring invectives and verbal threats.
Alongside this, it also streamlines the process for obtaining a restraining order.
While this is a great move for a country that did not previously have any specialised law on domestic abuse, the exclusion of same-sex couples is very puzzling, but not really surprising.