Judicial and sexuality specialists approved of the penalty handed down in a Beijing court to a man who sexually assaulted another man, as it reflected progress in the rule of law and met the needs of social development.
Women are the victims in most of the publicized sex-related cases, "but in reality, sexual harm also happens between people of the same gender," Ruan Chuansheng, a criminal law professor at Shanghai Administration Institute, said on Friday.
On Jan 10, the Shunyi District People's Court sentenced a man surnamed Dong to one year in prison with a one-year reprieve for the crime of indecency after he sexually assaulted another man, surnamed Li.
According to the court, Dong, 45, assaulted Li in an apartment after drinking alcohol on April 14. Dong surrendered to authorities after the offence.
Dong also said he has been infected by HIV/AIDS since 2015, it added.
"Dong committed the crime of indecency. He must be penalized under the Chinese Criminal Law," the court said."But considering that he surrendered and has reconciled with the victim, we gave him lenient punishment."
In August last year, a court in Shaanxi province handed down a two-year sentence to a man after he sexually harmed another man.
Ruan applauded the law, which was revised in 2015, as it extended the target of indecency to men.
"Indecency is not only a harm to women, but also to men. When speaking out and fighting for women, men's protection should be also increased," he said.
The sentences in recent years have reflected the equal protection of the revised law, he added.
Pan Suiming, director of the Institute of Sexuality and Gender at Renmin University of China, agreed.
"We often took gender as a priority while talking about and dealing with indecency, which was unreasonable," he told Beijing Legal Evening News.
With the improvement in people's legal awareness, human rights are getting more attention and are being upheld in society, "which propelled the amendment to the law and improved the rule of law," the newspaper quoted him as adding.