Li Yinhe

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Li Yinhe
李银河于2011年度性与性别事件评点三方会谈 (cropped).jpg
Born February 4, 1952 (1952-02-04) (age 66)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Nationality Chinese
Alma mater Shanxi University
University of Pittsburgh
Occupation Sociologist, Sexologist, Activist
Spouse(s) Wang Xiaobo (m. 1980–1997)

Li Yinhe (simplified Chinese: 李银河; traditional Chinese: 李銀河; pinyin: Lǐ Yínhé; born February 4, 1952) is a sociologist, sexologist, and activist for LGBT rights in the People's Republic of China. She was married to the late writer Wang Xiaobo. Her main academic interests have been sexual norms in contemporary China, homosexuality, diverse sexual behaviors including sadomasochism, and women's studies.


Born in Beijing in 1952, Li attended Shanxi University from 1974 to 1977. She became an editor at the government newspaper Guangming Daily, then a researcher at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She married Wang Xiaobo in 1980. In 1982 she went to the United States of America and obtained a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Pittsburgh (1988). Afterwards she worked as a postdoc then as an instructor at Peking University. In 1992 she became a professor at the Institute of Sociology at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She retired in 2012.

Li announced in December 2014 that she had been in a long-term relationship with a transgender man, Zhang Hongxia (b. 1965), for 15 years.[1][2]

Major works[edit]

  • 《中国人的性爱与婚姻》(Sexuality and Marriage in China), Henan People’s Press, 1991.
  • 《他们的世界——中国男同性恋群落透视》(Their World: a Study of Homosexuality in China), co-authored, Cosmos Press, Hong Kong,1992; Shanxi People’s Press, 1993.
  • 《生育与中国村落文化》(Procreation and Chinese Village Culture), Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, 1993; Chinese Social Science Press, 1994
  • 《性社会学》(Human Sexuality), translated, Henan People’s Press, 1994.
  • 《中国婚姻家庭及其变迁》(Changing Chinese Marriage and the Family), Heilongjiang People’s Press, 1995.
  • 《中国女性的性与爱》(Sexuality and Love of Chinese Women), Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, 1996.
  • 《女性权力的崛起》(Rising Power of the Women), Chinese Social Science Press,1997.
  • 《中国女性的感情与性》(Sexuality and Love of Chinese Women),China Today Press, 1998.
  • 《同性恋亚文化》(Subculture of Homosexuality),China Today Press, 1998.
  • 《虐恋亚文化》(Subculture of Sadomasochism),China Today Press, 1998.


Li has been active in calling for greater tolerance for nonconventional sexual activities in China. She thinks the country is undergoing a de facto sexual revolution, and encourages people to re-examine traditional attitudes towards sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. She proposes decriminalization of orgies and prostitution (both currently illegal in China). She also believes that monogamy is a personal decision made between a couple, and should not be enforced by law or social pressure.[3][4]

As a member of the national committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Li had submitted proposals to legalize same-sex marriages in 2003, 2005 and 2006.[5] None have succeeded so far.

She was a keynote speaker at the 2006 International Conference on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Li also publicly speaks about other issues of social justice, such as the growing urban-rural divide in China.[6]


External links[edit]