China Debates Sex Change Rules (Updated)

Discussion is now underway over the new proposed sex change rules. From BBC News:

China is set to formalise the rules covering sex change operations to ensure that all those who want surgery meet certain requirements.

Those who apply for a sex change must be single, over 20 and have wanted the surgery for at least five years.

The proposed new guidelines, posted on the ministry of health’s website, have been distributed for public discussion.

There could be hundreds of thousands of Chinese people wanting the surgery, news reports suggest.

With the proposed rules comes controversy. From Gillian Wong of the Associated Press:

One bioethicist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in an interview with state media, criticized the proposed requirements for police agreement and for patients to live openly in their desired gender for at least two years before surgery.

“As long as a person meets the physical and mental requirements, she or he should be granted the permit to have the surgery. … The police should change the sex of the receiver on the identity card accordingly,” Qiu Renzhong was quoted as saying by the official China Daily newspaper in its report Wednesday.

[…] Experts estimate that nearly 2,000 Chinese have undergone sex change surgery while 100,000 to 400,000 people are “considering it,” the China Daily said. It said no official statistics on in China are available.

Read the draft here (Chinese Word document).

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