Treatment of transsexuals who have undergone a sex change operation, particularly in Hong Kong (1997-2000) [CHN34249.E]

Very little information on the treatment of transsexuals in Hong Kong who have undergone a sex change operation could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, according to a 26 February 1999 report by the South China Morning Post, "there are around 60 transsexuals in Hong Kong who have had sex reassignment surgery over the past 12 years." The report claimed that transsexuality is "even less understood and accepted than homosexuality" (ibid.).

According to The Advocate, an American gay and lesbian newsmagazine, "the first sex-change operation was performed in China in secret in 1983" (14 Sept. 1999). Since that time, sex reassignment operations have become "numerous enough for the Beijing Medical University to publish guidelines for prospective patients, including a five-year waiting period and extensive psychotherapy" (ibid.). In a 2 September 1999 report, the Shanghai Daily stated that a physician based in that city, Dr. He Qinglian, had "performed altogether 50 sex change operations (11 male-to-female and 39 female-to-male) which is a nation-wide record for a single doctor." The report added that Dr. He had "received more than 4,000 letters asking for sex changes" over the past ten years (ibid.).

There is very little information on the treatment of transsexuals in mainland China who have undergone a sex change operation in the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, in a 4 November 1999 interview with the BBC, Jin Xing, a well-known former colonel in a People's Liberation Army dance troupe who underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1995, stated that there has been a change in attitude in China and that she is "quite pleased" with the way in which Chinese people have dealt with her transsexuality. According to the Irish Times, Ms. Jin has "experienced no discrimination since her sex change operation" (12 Apr. 1999). In a 14 September 1999 report, The Advocate, citing The New York Times, stated that "transsexuals are surprisingly accepted by the government, which in the past has forbidden homosexuality and even premarital sex." However, according to the Shanghai Daily, citing Dr. He, "the environment for sex change operations is far from satisfactory and there is no medical association whatsoever dealing with sex change operations in China (2 Sept. 1999).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Advocate [Los Angeles]. 14 September 1999. "Transsexual Wins Acceptance in China." [Accessed 3 Apr. 2000]

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 4 November 1999. "Special Series - Asia in the Next Century - Part 3." [Accessed 3 Apr. 2000]

Irish Times [Dublin]. 12 April 1999. "'Half Dream' for Gays Coming True." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

Shanghai Daily. 2 September 1999. "China's Sex Change Master." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2000]

South China Morning Post [Hong Kong]. 26 February 1999. Alice Cairns. "Gay Talk." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases.


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International.

Chinese Society for the Study of Sexual Minorities (CSSM)

Gay Explorer.

Gay Hong Kong.

Human Rights Watch.

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council (IGLHRC)

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)


Rex Wockner News Service.