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China and North Korea

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 222293, tabled on 27 January 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the level of persecution of LGBT people in (a) China and (b) North Korea.

Answered on

3 February 2015

Homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997 and removed from the official list of mental disorders in 2001. However, as there are no specific anti-discrimination laws protecting LGB&T people, and LGB&T relationships are not covered by family law, LGB&T people are frequently subject to unequal treatment, harassment and intimidation. LGB&T civil society groups frequently encounter pressure from the authorities, including being detained or otherwise prevented from running LGB&T advocacy events. However, social attitudes in China are changing. The same-sex marriage of a British diplomat and his partner at the UK Ambassador’s residence in Beijing in September 2014 led to a lively but largely supportive debate on social media.

Although there is no specific legislation outlawing homosexuality in North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea authorities deny that LGB&T persons exist and same sex relationships are considered unacceptable. There is consequently neither legal nor practical protection for LGB&T rights.