#China

Shanghai Pride Participants Celebrated The Event's 10th Anniversary

Shanghai Pride is nearing its end, but those who participated are hopeful for its future and the future of LGBTQ people in China.

This year’s Shanghai Pride marks its 10th anniversary and many celebrated (and some still are).

The theme for the 2018 version is “our community, our identity, our pride.” The event is still ongoing and will continue until the 18th, but many of the 40 scheduled events such as the Pink Brunch, the sexual harassment awareness panel, trivia night, some of the film festival, and more have already finished.

With the end of the event nearing, many are looking back at this year’s Shanghai pride and also the journey of LGBTQ people in China.

“None of us imagined we’d organize ten of these,” said Shanghai Pride cofounder Charlene Liu to TIME. “I came out through Shanghai Pride, I met my wife through Shanghai Pride, so today is very emotional for us.”

Historically, China had a fruitful relationship with homosexuality. Several Chinese emperors had homosexual relationships and ancient Chinese annals celebrated same-sex love.

Unfortunately, the Westernization of the country led to a toxic attitude towards LGBTQ life and love. This has continued all the way to today’s ruling Communist Party, which is officially atheist but carries a lot of that earlier homophobic mentality.

 

Celebrating 10 years of #shanghaipride

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Since then, the Chinese government has shown inconsistent treatment of LGBTQ people. The country’s officials state that LGBTQ people have rights like any other and support LGBTQ businesses like gay app Blued, but they censor LGBTQ media and prohibit large gatherings of LGBTQ people.

The latter was a source of concern for Brian Song, who helped to organize Shanghai Pride’s The Journey of Light choir concert.

“We were a little bit worried that maybe our concert would get canceled because of the current environment regarding LGBT in the media,” he says. “We’re not really free to publicize our community right now.”

That said, attitudes towards LGBTQ people are slowly changing for Chinese people.

For instance, many social media users complained and protested when Weibo, essentially China’s Twitter, tried to ban gay content in April. In addition, the Chinese government then shared that it supported LGBTQ people on the site.

With ten years under its belt and a slow shift in support for LGBTQ people, the participants of Shanghai Pride have a lot to be thankful for and are looking forward to the future.

“There is more and more awareness right now, which is good, so I think people will get more accepting of what we do, who we are,” said Garbo Huang from Hong Kong, who’s lived in Shanghai for seven years. “We’ll just keep on marching forward.”

 

Happy pride!!!!

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h/t: TIME Magazine

Asian Immigrants From Anti-LGBTQ Countries Are Moving To New Zealand

A researcher says that LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.

Sharyn Davies is an associate professor at AUT University. There, she also studies gender and sexuality issues in Asia.

Thanks to those studies, Davies noticed a change happening in New Zealand’s population. The amount of LGBTQ people trying escape Asian countries is “sadly rising.”

Specifically, Davies has found that people from other countries made up under half of all same-sex couples in New Zealand in 2013. Then just four years later, 1785 same-sex couples from overseas have married in New Zealand.

That said, Davies doesn’t have the resources to count how many LGBTQ immigrants have come into the country through visas. And sadly, there is no available data on the subject beyond what Davies has found.

That said, what Davies can say is that New Zealand’s acceptance of LGBTQ people had led to many new immigrants.

"In New Zealand, we have anti-discrimination laws and allow same sex marriage, so yes it's a mecca. NZ is quite like paradise," Davies said.

As examples of this, the New Zealand Herald found and interviewed a few immigrants who came to escape more hostile countries.

First is an Indonesian gay men with the alias Jufrie. Jufrie came into New Zealand this past January after his partner was arrested because of their relationship.

While homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, the country has become incredibly hostile towards LGBTQ people, specifically gay men and trans people, in the last two or three years.

Jufrie shares that his partner was taken away during a night raid of their home by "religious security guards.” His partner was then charged and imprisoned under the Pornography Act as an excuse.

"It was about 2 or 3am, and they came and just rammed the door of the house down," he said.

"My partner held them out by placing a bookshelf at our room door and because of what he did, I managed to escape out of the toilet window."

"My dream is that one day my husband can also escape to New Zealand and we can legally get married and live happily ever after here," Jufrie said.

In addition, The Herald also interviewed a lesbian couple from China.

25-year-old Tracey Bo and Effie Liu, moved to New Zealand because they wanted to eventually marry, which China is nowhere near legalizing.

Bo, who’s currently in New Zealand on a work visa, came ot Auckland in 2012 has a student. She then met Liu, who’s in New Zealand on a student visa, in 2015 while on a Chinese lesbian app. Sadly, the two only found problems from there.

"In China, there is a stigma about being a lesbian and we face strong pressure from family and society," Bo said.

"We found it is impossible to settle there, and the only place we can be together is here in New Zealand."

"We hope to get a residence visa and stay here, and our dream is that one day our family in China can also accept us as who we are," Bo added.

These are just two stories to represent hundreds of people are showing up in New Zealand to escape countries in Asia.

h/t: The New Zealand Herald

Two Chinese Citizens Were Attacked By Security Guards At A Beijing Pride Event

Video of security guards attacking two Chinese women at an LGBTQ event in Beijing has sparked outrage online.

This past Sunday, LGBTQ people and supporters gathered at the 798 district in Beijing, which is known for its art. At the time, people were gathering to hand out rainbow badges to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia. Unfortunately, that would then incite a homophobic attack of its own.

Two security guards stopped the organizer of the event from walking further down district 798 saying that the badges weren’t allowed in the district. An argument ensued and quickly escalated to the point of multiple security guards ganging up on two women in the street.

Piaoquanjun, the online alias of the organizer of the event, told Chinese state media Global Times that the two women were sent to the hospital.

Later, a video of the fight found its way online and the hashtag 798 beating started trending. Unfortunately, both the video and hashtag were later blocked on social media sites like Weibo (which itself has had problems with LGBTQ people).

In response to this situation, the Guangzhou gender Education Centre published an open letter online saying, “This is not only a violation of the dignity and rights of the LGBT community, but also a naked trampling of the basic rights of citizens prescribed by the constitution.”

Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but the Chinese government has a spotty record of how it treats LGBTQ people. It seems that China officials will acknowledge and accept LGBTQ people as long as they aren’t out in the open.

As Lu Pin, the founder of the blog The Feminist Voices said concerning the incident and the political climate, “The public space for diverse expressions is collapsing. People are realizing that they must stand up for their rights, but the situation is so difficult now.”

The First Gay Film With A Wide Release In China Got Disappointing Reviews

China just had its first gay film with a wide release across the country, but many a more disappointed than excited.

Last year, the Chinese censorship organization announced that they would allow gay film “Looking for Rohmer” to get a wide release across the country. This surprising act of tolerance and acceptance confused many as China’s actions towards gay content flips from intolerant to tolerant depending on the day.

But now that the film is out in theaters, some feel that this milestone is more of a letdown than anything.

Looking for Rohmer, otherwise known for its former working title Seek McCartney, follows the story of a Chinese dancer named Zhao Jie. Zhao Jie (played by Han Geng) starts the film in turmoil as his French friend Rohmer (played by Jérémie Elkaim) died while exploring Tibet. The film then explores the intimate relationship between the two.

A writer from Sixth Tone was honored with a spot to see a Shanghai screening of the film (and he noted that the three other viewers in the otherwise empty theater were also gay men).

What that Sixth Tone writer saw ended up being a pretty confusing film. It seems that the film went through several hoops of censorship before it could be released. This made it out to be one of those films where you have to know in order to recognize the signs of a homosexual storyline.

For instance, there was one scene where Rohmer goes to a bar to drink his worries away. Gay viewers of the film might have been able to recognize that the bar was only full of men and some more may have been able to recognize the bar as the popular LGBT bar in Beijing called “Destination.”

As Sixth Tone writes:

“Some scenes obviously point to a gay relationship,” a 43-year-old marketer surnamed Yang told Sixth Tone. Yang recalled how Rohmer and Zhao embraced, how Zhao rubbed Rohmer’s back in a public bathhouse, and how the two held hands during a night out drinking. But Yang also conceded that these scenes were few and far between, and might go unnoticed by straight moviegoers.

That said, many have felt cheated. After anticipating “the first gay film with a wide release in China,” many felt like censorship turned it into the blandest film (that’s kind of gay) imaginable.

"I thought I was watching a documentary film about the scenery in Tibet,” one ticket-booking user wrote online. “The product after censorship is a perfunctory, sucky movie.”

That said, perhaps Looking for Rohmer will have a better effect on the country in the longrun. Perhaps, the goal is like Love, Simon where Looking for Rohmer is just a movie to open the door for more gay films in the future.

That said, if you take away the draw for viewers looking to see gay films, Love, Simon remains a good movie while it looks like Looking for Rohmer has beautiful scenery but is otherwise pretty bland.

h/t: Sixth Tone

"On Second Thought...": Social Media Juggernaut Weibo Decided Not To Ban Gay Content After all

In a surprise and fantastic twist, Chinese social media company Sina Weibo has decided not to ban gay content.

The announcement of a quick reverse in policy came earlier today after Weibo’s official account posted, “We thank all for your discussions and suggestions.”

Two days ago, we shared with you the news that Sina Weibo or just Weibo, a program that’s essentially the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, announced it would ban its 392 Million users from uploading gay content.

This announcement and policy change was in an effort to comply with China’s harsh internet censorship laws that prohibit gay content along with depictions of violence, underage drinking/drug use, pornographic content, and more.

That said, there was an immediate pushback by users who were against the new policies. Several users (LGBTQ or ortherwise) complained that the rules were too restrictive, and some said their accounts had been banned and not just the content they’d uploaded.

"Sina Weibo's original decision simply made no sense -- why link homosexuality with other illegal activities," said leading LGBTQ rights advocate Xiaogang Wei.

"They targeted the entire LGBT community in that notice," he added. "We must pressure these companies and show them it's not easy to discriminate against an entire community -- no matter who orders them to do it."

That pressure was applied thanks to a popular Weibo page called “The Gay Voice,” which initially announced that it would be shutting down after the policy change.

That announcement was quickly followed by fans of the page sharing their support by bringing back an old post titled, “I am gay.” The hashtag #ImGay started trending as LGBTQ users and allies shared that they were against the new Weibo policy.

"I feel totally surprised and touched," The Gay Voice founder Hua Zile, told CNN.

"Seven years ago, not that many people were willing to make their voices heard this way," he said. "It's amazing to see this happen now, with everyone -- straight or gay, celebrities or ordinary people -- using the hashtag and joining in."

This then led to Weibo making the quick announcement this morning stating that it would not be banning gay content (though, violence and pornography are still on the chopping list).

In other news, it seems that the Chinese government is just as mixed on this issue of LGBTQ visibility as it always is.

News source The People’s Daily, which is run directly by the ruling Communist Party, released an article on Sunday chastising Weibo for its decision to ban gay content. The post stated that “homosexuals are also ordinary citizens.”

That said, the news source also stated that depictions of violence and pornography on the internet has to be eliminated no matter what sexual orientation is the focus.

h/t: CNN

Popular Chinese Social Media App Weibo Just Banned Gay Content

The Chinese government is at it again with banning gay content over the internet.

This time, the focus is on social media website/app Sina Weibo or Weibo for short, which is essentially the Twitter of China (as Twitter is also banned in the country) and has 392 million active monthly users.

In a similar act to how Craigslist is deleting Personal ads to protect itself from a new Congress bill, Weibo is deleting gay content in order to stay in the clear with Chinese law.

Through Weibo’s official account, the Community Manager shared the news that starting April 13, the site would “fulfill the corporate responsibility” and work under the Chinese Internet Security Laws. This means that gay content will now be banned on the site along with acts of violence, pornographic content, depictions of underage drinking/drug use, and more.

In order to make this happen, the company behind the social media service will closely monitor all content uploaded onto the service for the next three months. The announcement also shared that 56,243 violations were “cleared” during the time that the notice was made.

As you might expect, there was a strong opposition to this announcement. Many complained that the rules were too harsh and that Weibo accounts were being blocked and not just the content.

This is also a great problem for online content creators like comic artists, merch sellers, and filmmakers who largely market their gay content through social media like Weibo.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that China has banned/censored gay content. While homosexuality is legal and the Chinese government supposedly has a live and let live policy towards LGBTQ people, it would seem that’s only the case if they do it privately in their own corners of the country. Anything else, and LGBTQ people will be shut down with a forceful hand.

h/t: Beta News

"Call Me By Your Name Was Taken Out Of Beijing's Film Festival," Says Sony Pictures Classics

A Chinese film festival has pulled Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name from its program.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, the film’s distributor, shared the news with Reuters that its film was taken off the roster of the Beijing International Film Festival. The film was set to play along other international films like Lean on Pete and The Square.

Unfortunately, there was no explanation as to why the film was taken off the showing list, including requests for the festival organizers and the country’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to comment, but many believe its because of China’s unstable views on homosexuality.

Call Me By Your Name follows the budding romance between a 17-year-old Jewish-Italian boy and an archeology student in his mid-twenties.

“There is no clear policy on this issue, so we are always confused,” said Xin Ying, executive director of the Beijing LGBT Centre, to Reuters.

While homosexuality is not illegal in China, the country’s government is constantly shuffling its views and policy on gay representation in media and gay people, or allies, congregating in the open.

Last year, China censored gay content in the film Alien: Convenant, and stated strict limits on gay content found on the internet. In addition, Chinese officials shut down a gay rights conference before it could even get started, and police forced parents of gay people to leave a matchmaking event.

Meanwhile, the creator of the biggest gay dating app in the world, Blued, says that the government specifically approves of his business, and Beauty and the Beast’s “gay moment” went unedited in China.

All of that, plus this newest development of Call Me By Your Name being pulled from Beijing’s film festival just adds to the confusion of the country’s citizens.

Perhaps that will soon change as China’s government shifts under President Xi Jinping. Earlier this month, China’s Parliament voted to take away term limits for the President and allow him to rule indefinitely. In addition, control over film, news and publishing officially became the jurisdiction of the Communist Party’s publicity department.

But, with President Xi Jinping’s party being in true power, we’ll see if they will be supportive of LGBTQ people in China or make things worse for them.

h/t: Reuters