NPC passes Anti-Domestic Violence Law

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The People’s Republic of China Anti-Domestic Violence Law was released during the Eighteenth Session of the Twelfth Standing Committee of the NPC on December 27. This law will be enforced from March 1st, 2016. It defines domestic violence as beating, binding, restricting personal freedom, frequent abusive remarks and threats within families which cause physical and mental damage.

The law, which is the first legislation to address domestic violence in China, contains a few remarkable points. First of all, it stipulates that psychological violence should also be seen as a kind of domestic violence. Apart from that, it also mandates that violence between “people living together”, even when they are not married, should be regarded as domestic violence. Making use of the collective advice provided by the public and the women’s organizations that work on the frontline against domestic violence, this regulation has won unanimous applause and praise from the public. However Guo Linmao, in charge of the Social Law Room, claims that “when the law mentions ‘people living together’, this doesn’t include those who have homosexual relationships, because this kind of violence has not yet been discovered in China”. In actuality however, domestic violence between homosexuals happens as frequently as it does between heterosexuals, or even more frequently for some kinds of violence. According to the tong Yu Minority Organization which focuses on the protection of LGBT rights, the fact that this sort of violence “has not yet been discovered” doesn’t mean that it does not exist, but rather that it has not been reported or has not been seen.

Moreover, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law doesn’t cover sexual violence. According to the results of The Status Quo of Domestic Violence in China report released by the Beijing Maple Women’s Psychological Counseling Center and Netease Female Channel, 13.9% of women have experienced sexual violence, which is covert and more easily overlooked by the public but causes more severe physical and mental damage to the victims, especially in children.