This essay analyzes the language and representation of male same-sex relations in major urban tabloid newspapers, other journalistic writings, and legal discourses. It argues that the Western sexological concept of homosexuality was accepted and incorporated in early-twentieth-century China because it was similar to the local understanding of male same-sex relations. The essay demonstrates how new meanings were produced in the process of epistemological encounters under the historical context of semicolonial China. It also answers the question of why the Republican state legal apparatus had no clear stipulations on sex between men.

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