BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 7 July, 2000, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Chinese police raid gay sauna
Guangzhou
Guangzhou has a slowly emerging gay community
Police in China have raided a gay health spa in the city of Guangzhou and arrested 37 men on charges of prostitution.



The men were not taken in because of their homosexuality, ... but because the centre charged from 200 to 500 yuan for their services

Police spokesman
The Junjie men's beauty and health centre, staffed only with male hosts, has attracted hundreds of members since it opened in February.

The arrests follow the launch by the authorities of a summer campaign against vice, targeting nightclubs, bars, saunas and karaoke parlours.

President Jiang Zemin, who has spearheaded a campaign to promote upright living, has called on law enforcement authorities to "strike against repulsive social phenomena".

Guangzhou police said the action was not taken to target gays but because the sauna was being used for prostitution.

"The men were not taken in because of their homosexuality, which is a voluntary mutual relationship, but because the centre charged from 200 yuan ($24) to 500 yuan for their services," a police spokesman said.

Anti-vice campaign

The English language China Daily said the three-month anti-vice campaign would close down unregistered entertainment and leisure centres.


Gay China
Government and academic studies estimate there are 40-50 million homosexuals in China
Efforts to combat Aids and HIV have increased official acknowledgement of the gay community
Homosexual acts are illegal although prosecutions are falling
Officials will also inspect the existing 330,700 registered sites.

''From now on, no new entertainment sites will be authorised to open, and all existing ones must be strictly examined and re-registered,'' said Wu Mingshan, deputy director of the Public Security Bureau.

Correspondents say the relaxation of social controls in China over recent years has given homosexuals greater freedom to congregate openly in certain bars and parks of major cities.

Although homosexual acts remain illegal, telephone helplines and other resources such as internet chatrooms have helped establish a growing gay community.

However, many Chinese gays complain they still face harassment by the authorities, with meetings frequently raided by police and an official stance that regards homosexuality as a perversion.

In October last year a Beijing court ruled that homosexuality was "abnormal and unacceptable to the Chinese public".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories