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Modern China has something like a nationwide don't-ask-don't-tell policy on homosexuality — gay sex isn't illegal, but it's not legally protected either. Homosexuality is generally a taboo, with the government barring television stations from running movies with gay themes, and gay men are often detained by the police.
An amendment to legalize gay marriage was rejected in 2003, but now, in response to growing concerns about HIV, some Chinese academics are pushing for a second attempt, arguing that legal same-sex marriage would curb transmission of the disease. HIV isn't especially common in China — only 0.05 percent of the population is infected -- but among gay men, the rate is as high as one in five in some cities. But, in another unhappy statistic, eighty percent of gay men in China are already married — to women. So however fraught the United States' path to gay marriage seems at the moment, it'll probably come here before it comes to the P.R.C.