Gay Bar to Reach Out to the Area's Homosexual Community Opened by a City in China

In a move which has garnered much criticism for the authorities of Dali, a small city in China with the country's highest rate of AIDS, the state has opened a government-funded gay bar in the area to reach out to the increasingly open homosexual community of the area. The effort, which although is rooted in a good cause, has spurred much debate over the use of taxpayers' money.

The initiative has been taken by Dali's health department, to help combat the increasing problem of AIDS in one of 10 Chinese cities most affected. Official figures have confirmed that "same-sex transmission" makes up for nearly one-third of new HIV infections in the country.

"Some readers think that it's a waste of taxpayer money, or an indirect endorsement of homosexual behavior. They think if there were another way to reach out to the gay community, it wouldn't be necessary to open a bar", the Beijing News reported.

Founded by Zhang Jianbo, the bar is intended to be a public gathering place for gay men, especially from the rural areas, who earlier were noted as gathering in a path of woods near the town. Sex educations and free condoms will be offered by the bar.

Although funded by the Government, the staff of the bar comprises of volunteers from a local non-Government organization which works towards preventing AIDS and spreading awareness.