Fake divorce and same-sex marriage

A glance at current China LGBT movement

Apologize for Chinglish, grammar mistakes and typo.

This story is written to Shane Smith, VICE co-founder and CEO as response to his answer as “I know nothing about China gay rights” as I asked him if he is aware that VICE China’s coverage on local LGBT community is anti-LGBT on a session at Lumiere Theater during 2016 Cannes Lions Festival in France.

In China, heterosexual spouses are busy getting fake divorce in order to buy more property while LGBT people are fighting for same-sex marriage.

China property bubble and government regulation measures have made BBC headlines for many times. Government launches purchase restrictions once property price bubble goes big. According to restrictions, married couples have to pay more deposit to buy a second property. Married couples are treated as a single unit. If they get divorced, couples can get more favorable deposit rates in buying second property.

Statistics show how divorce rate is affected by property purchase restrictions. Divorce rate in 2009 grew by 10.3%, 2010 divorce rate grew by 14.5%, 2011 went down and grew by 7.3%, 2012 8.0%, 2013 went up again by 12.8%, 2014 went down again and grew by 3.9%. Divorce rate in Shanghai along grew by 38% in 2013. Each divorce rate surge was happened to be the time when government launched restrictions.

Recent headlines are couples queue to get fake divorce and property administration has to limit daily divorce registration to maximum 50 cases.

While straight married couples are busy faking divorces for favorable deposit rate, LGBT people are fighting to be accepted and to have equal rights to get married.

Li Yinhe is a famous sociologist. She devoted decades to academic study in China LGBT people’s life and culture and actively promotes same sex marriage. Her books on China LGBT are crucial for LGBT people to be self-accepted and for straight allies to know LGBT people’s struggle. Her current partner is a transgender man.

Fan Popo is an independent LGBT documentary filmmaker and an openly gay man. He sued against censorship administration for banning his LGBT documentary online and won the lawsuit. He is the first filmmaker in China winning lawsuit on censorship.

Qiu Bai is an openly lesbian newly graduated from university in Guangdong. She sued against education bureau for homosexuality stigmatization on university textbooks. She failed the case but was reported to appeal.

Sun Wenlin and his same sex partner Hu Mingliang live in Hunan. They sued against local civil administration for the right to get married. They failed the case but were reported to appeal.

Meijie and her openly gay son live in Shanghai. She is an activist in China PFLAG(Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). She has been advocating actively among parents to accept their gay sons and daughters. She and dozens of parents like her are advocating gay acceptance in family across China. China PFLAG holds annual conference sharing their acceptance stories and encouraging stronger family bonding between parents and their gay children.

Steven is an American gay man living with his partner in Shanghai. He actively advocates workplace inclusion by holding series of LGBT professional networking sessions. His recent move is holding LGBT job fair with corporate. His efforts promoted pink economy and attracted more corporate cooperation.

ShanghaiPRIDE is a grass root LGBT organization completely run by volunteers. It holds Pride week each June presenting events like running, cycling, panel, movie, theatre and parties. Events are open to all. Thousands of LGBT people and friendly straight people join Pride week and celebrate diversity. The number of participants as well as volunteers keeps increasing each year. More corporates and embassies joined ally team as event sponsors. ShanghaiPRIDE volunteers produced China’s first LGBT campaign advert called “I Am Me” this year.


More grass root LGBT organizations are working on a daily basis for awareness, acceptance and equal rights. Shanghai Nv Ai (nv means women, ai means love) is an organization for LBT people. Beijing LGBT center has been working on psychological counseling, HIV testing and hotlines. Beijing Tongyu has been working on education in terms of sexuality and self-awareness. Dozens more similar grass root organizations are promoting LGBT acceptance across China.

This is a glance at current China LGBT movement. However, people don’t care. Just like how VICE China reported ShanghaiPRIDE week in June. It wrote: yes, our journalist went to the Pride week but it looks like a group of rich gay kids having fun in their small community during their American universities’ summer vocation.

VICE global has done great job on reporting LGBT community but VICE China’s reporting is shallow and arrogant. Being a community volunteer myself, I hope VICE China to learn from VICE global and support local LGBT community in reporting.