Beyond colonialism: osmotic reconstruction of gender/sexual justice in Hong Kong
ABSTRACT In Hong Kong, even though the Bill of Rights Ordinance (the localized version of ICCPR), Sex Discrimination Ordinance and a series of legal reforms (such as the cancellation of marital exemption of rape and the recognition of sexual discrimination in criminal law) were enacted and introduced respectively since the 1990s, gender/sexual discrimination in the legal discourse still persists; for example: Chinese customary law which only recognizes the male’s right to build small houses in the New Territories remains an exception under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance; the government insists on not tabling an anti-sexual-orientation discrimination bill; the right to same sex marriage/partnership is still absent from any legal-political agenda; and so on. Some politicians and academics argue that any attempt to transplant a Euro-American individual-centric perspective of gender/sexual equality/justice will violate the Han-Chinese culture of harmony. In the paper, I will adopt a critical perspective in examining the above argument and examine why harmony politics becomes a meta-narrative in Han-Chinese socio-legal culture and how human nature/subjectivity is re-constituted in such a context. I will further argue that a culture should always be meticulously and critically represented and investigated in order to reproduce ‘gender/sexual justice’. I will also investigate the possibility of scrutinizing and exploring the spaces of resistance within the Han-Chinese socio-legal culture in Hong Kong, where foreign theory of gender/sexual justice/equality and related legal reforms can be engaged to politicize current discrimination and suppression.
KEYWORDS: Han-Chinese culture, law, justice, infiltration
Man-chung Chiu is Associate Professor of Law, Hong Kong Shue Yan University.