At the turn of the twentieth century Chinese sexuality underwent a metamorphosis, resulting in the replacement of a rich indigenous discourse by imported Western theories. This article traces the evolution of a modern subject and episteme emerging from the historical transformation in the area of same-sex relations and delineates the perspectives and values that clashed in the encounter of cultures. A key text the author examines is an official decree of 1912 that outlawed xianggong houses in Beijing, signifying the death of the custom of xianggong, which it condemned, in new Western terms, as decadent, immoral, and disgraceful. The study analyzes indigenous terms such as mojing 磨鏡 (mirror rubbing) and nanfeng 男風 (male wind) and compares them with their replacements, for example, tongxing'ai 同性愛 and tongxinglian 同性戀 (homosexuality), to illuminate the differences in their social-historical significations. The author concludes that the Republican era witnessed the construction of a new sexual taxonomy centered on the dichotomy of heterosexuality and homosexuality.

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