When the immoral is not illegal

13:25, March 10, 2010      

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Sociologist and gay rights activist, Li Yinhe, continues to stun the country with her comments on hitherto taboo topics such as sex and same-sex marriages.

She has submitted, for the fifth time, to the ongoing 2010 annual sessions of the NPC and CPPCC, proposals to allow same-sex marriages, and rescind the ban on sexual orgies as a violation of the Criminal Law of the PRC.

"The first is a continuous attempt as I know it will take time to realize this," Li says. "The second involves doing away with an outdated law."

A highly profiled scholar, Li's thoughts have influenced the Chinese public for two decades. In an exclusive interview with China Daily, she shares her views on sex and marriage.

In 2006, Li caused a flutter with her support for one-night stands and polyamory (multiple sexual partners). Explaining her stance, she says unmarried people have the legal right to one-night stands. And while it may be morally wrong for married couples to do so, there is nothing illegal about it.

"I'm not saying I encourage people to have casual sex," Li says, "People have the right to sex just like they have the right to eat. Although both are not explicitly written into the Chinese Constitution, they are not violations of the law."

She says polyamory offers important evidence for her sociological studies.

"I know of three lovers living together in harmony, in China and in other countries. They are straight and are not jealous of sharing lovers," she says, adding this proves that the human emotion of jealousy stems from social rather than physiological reasons.

Li strongly opposes women being mistresses to men. She sees that as an insult to the idea of equal social status for men and women. "It's a pity that young women would like to find such short-cuts to a better life," she says.

She even jokes that when stories of women keeping men begin to appear in the mass media, it could signal a higher social status for women.

Li's sharp ideas have come under much attack on various online forums. She has now shut down the forum for her personal blogs to block off vicious criticisms.

The former wife of late writer Wang Xiaobo currently lives with a 9-year-old adoptive son in Beijing. Her research on marriages, covering five major Chinese cities, will soon be published under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In her spare times Li reads extensively and is particularly partial to detective stories. "Most books, I only read once," she says.

"Wang Xiaobo's books are the exception," she adds, with a smile.

Source: China Daily (By Mei Jia)
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