China has passed a law to protect cohabiting couples against domestic violence but it will not protect same-sex couples.
The law, which was passed on Sunday, protects married and unmarried cohabiting couples.
The country did not previously have a law protecting against violence at home.
The new law covers physical and psychological abuse, and allows spouses or partners to obtain restraining orders more easily.
Guo Linmao, a member of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Chinese parliament, said at a news conference that the law intended to tackle the most widespread problems.
“There are a lot of examples of domestic violence between family members, and also between people who cohabit,” Guo said.
“As for homosexuals in our country, we have not yet discovered this form of violence, so to give you a certain answer, it can be said that people who cohabit does not include homosexuals.”
Despite homosexuality no longer being illegal in China, gay, lesbian and bisexual people have no legal protections.
Although there have been some calls for same-sex marriage, it does not look likely to become legal soon in China.