Walk­ing a tightrope with taboos in play

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

In the first in­stance, a fe­male au­di­ence mem­ber got up and threw ex­cre­ment over Pro­fes­sor Peng Xiao­hui last year when he was giv­ing a lec­ture at a sex con­fer­ence in Guangzhou, South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince.

A few months later, in Xi’an of North­west China’s Shaanxi prov­ince, a group of mid­dleaged women poured ex­cre­ment on bill­boards show­ing pho­to­graphs of four prom­i­nent sex­ol­o­gists: Al­fred Kin­sey, Fang Gang, Li Yinhe, and Peng.

Peng was mis­quoted and made to sound as though he was jus­ti­fy­ing in­cest while Li has been crit­i­cized for ad­vo­cat­ing sex­ual free­dom.

Liu said that ini­ti­at­ing dia­logue be­tween aca­demics and the an­gry “dama” (mid­dleaged to el­derly women) serves a use­ful pur­pose. “I’d like to hear what they think about it, what they are against and why,” he said.

As China steps into the in­for­ma­tion era, sex­ual be­hav­ior in the coun­try has be­come more di­verse and ripe for public dis­cus­sion.

For ex­am­ple, part­ner-swap­ping was a crime el­i­gi­ble for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in China in the 1970s. But in 2010, a 55-year-old col­lege pro­fes­sor merely lost his job and so­cial stand­ing af­ter it be­came known that he was op­er­at­ing a club for swingers in Nan­jing, the cap­i­tal of East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince.

“So­ci­ety is con­stantly de­vel­op­ing and val­ues are al­ways chang­ing. Philoso­phers have pre­dicted that in 100 years mat­ri­mony will no longer be nec­es­sary. Mar­riage may be­come an agree­ment with terms and a fixed du­ra­tion. I tend to be­lieve that is true.

“We should not be judg­men­tal. Lots of things are un­clear, oth­er­wise we wouldn’t need to do any more re­search,” Liu said.

He also be­lieves that aca­demics should be free to re­search what­ever they wish. There should be no for­bid­den zones.

“They need to see fur­ther ahead than the public, and show more fore­sight, but too much dis­tance will get them in trou­ble,” he said. “They should not make un­nec­es­sary enemies.”


Pro­fes­sor Liu’s

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