Male rape is now a crime in China and carries a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
The country’s top legislature passed an amendment to the criminal law in August, which took effect on Sunday (1 November), Xinhua news agency reported.
The law previously only recognized sexual assault as a crime against women, making it difficult to punish punish such attacks on men.
In 2010, a security guard sexually abused a male colleague but could only be convicted on the lesser charge of intentional injury and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
In another case last year, a Chongqing man accused of kidnapping and raping another man was released with only an official reprimand because police could not charge him with a crime.
LGBTI activists have been pushing for a change in the law for years.
Zhang Beichuan, a professor at Qingdao University specializing in LGBTI issues, surveyed 2,000 gay Chinese men in 2013 and said 9.8% reported they had been raped by another man.