#China

Chinese Citizens Complain After TV Actors Have Their Ears Blurred

We thought censorship in the country of China was crazy before, but now it’s just getting ridiculous.

It seems Chinese TV has recently had a string of incidents where men have had their ears blurred. International news source CNN notes how pictures of men having their ears blurred out are circulating on Weibo, the equivalent to Twitter in China.

According to the World News, the censorship is happening on iQiYi, a streaming platform described as the “Chinese Netflix." Some of these pictures have been included below.

But what do all of these men have in common? They have all gotten their ears pierced.

Yes, it appears that China’s he State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (or SAPPRFT) has decided that earrings are now too Western/alternative for the general populace. That said, there has been no reported statement or directive about this change in regulations.

This is the latest in the ongoing lockdown of content and censorship within the country of China. From banning gay content online, in movies, and in television, to banning depictions of what’s considered unapproved behavior such as drinking, to banning jokes about Chinese traditions, and “overt admiration for Western lifestyles.”

"China is still a strong patriarchal society which have a distinctive male and female hierarchy in many local communities," said Grace Leung, who teaches media regulation and policy issues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"Seeing men wearing earrings, in many traditional men's point of view, is a deteriorating of their social status and respect."

She added, "This is a consistent policy of purify their pop culture from the Western influence and strengthening the Chinese characteristics of manhood."

How far will China go in restricting the content its citizens can watch? With men’s earlobes now on the censorship table, appears anything is.

h/t: CNN, The World News

Blued Announced A Hold On New Users After Being Blamed For Youth Contracting HIV

Blued, the most popular gay dating app in the world, has temporarily stopped accepting new users.

This change in policy is due to allegations that Blued is partially responsible for the rise in HIV statuses in China. Even further, many say Blued is putting underage people at risk by letting them sign up.

Keep in mind, Blued creator and CEO Ma Baoli says people under 18 are forbidden from using the app. Also, Blued is not just a gay dating/hookup app. The app offers several community/social media aspects including gaming features, YouTube videos and programs, a live streaming community that bans nudity, and news/opinion articles with LGBTQ related content.

Despite this, a report by Chinese financial news site Caixin accused Blued of failing to protect LGBTQ youth. It did so by including a 10-month survey of 56 health workers, members of the gay community, and their support groups.

Even though the app swears to be 18+ only, the Caixin article pointed out that younger people can just claim that they are 18 and older.

Qingdao University sexologist Zhang Beichuan was quoted in the article and shared stories of underage Blued users being pressured into having sex after meeting older men through the app. The article also states that some had contracted HIV through these encounters.

Peng Xiaohui, from the China Sexology Association, said to the South China Morning Post that he had “been worrying and warning Blued’s founder to make efforts to prevent minors from using the app”.

“Now the report has proved my worries to be true ... The public should respect the lawful rights and interests of the gay community. And the app must take responsibility to protect minors and abide by the law,” Peng said.

According to CNN, Blued then made the announcement that it’s temporarily prohibiting new users as it tries to address how to fix this problem.

"What we have done on AIDS prevention is seen by all," Ma Baoli told CNN on Monday. "We probably are the best and we have done the most. Our priority now is to supervise and examine our content."

In the meantime, Blued is trying to improve its programing to detect accounts set up by underage users. It is also increasing the number of notifications reminding users of the age restriction.

In the past year, the tech industry has been hounded by increased concerns over the responsibility to protect users from explicit content.

Tumblr increased censorship after child pornography snuck through its security, Facebook upped its community standards as a way to combat adult content, fake news, and political manipulation, and Grindr is currently in a court battle over “products liability” after a New Yorker’s ex posted multiple fake accounts and had several men show up to his home.

h/t: Caixin, South China Morning PostCNN,

China's Censorship Laws Got Harsher As The Reward For Reporting Others Increased

Censorship in China just keeps getting harsher.

China has announced that it will be increasing a reward given to anyone who can report “illegal” works.

The Chinese government made this announcement last month as the country continues its effort to censor content online, in television, and now in person as well.

An reward will go out to any Chinese citizen who can report “illegal” publications that distribute “obscene” material. The amount of the reward can now go upwards to 600,000 yuan or $86,412.

Creating an incentive in order to increase reports can easily create chaos and exploitation of the law. Look for instance at what happened recently in America with the Philadelphia-born gay man who was almost deported, because of a law where sheriffs get compensated for extending the detention of suspected illegal immigrants.

Another example would be the Chinese author who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last month. The author, who’s referred to as Tianyi, was selling 7,000 pornographic books involving the love affair of a teacher and his male student.

Someone reported Tianyi and she was arrested by the police earlier this year. Now, she has been given the heavy sentence of 10 years, which many complained is a longer sentence than even rapists get.

It seems a wave of censorship is sweeping the globe, but China is leagues ahead of anybody else.

China Sentences Author To 10 Years In Prison For Selling A Homoerotic Novel

Unfortunately, one author’s attempt at realistically depicting gay romance and sex has resulted in a ticket to jail.

Chinese media sources are buzzing with the news that a female novelist under the pen name Tianyi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tianyi gained the attention of Chinese authorities after her homoerotic novel Gongzhan, which depicts the sexual relationship between a teacher and his student, went viral last year, according to IOL and AFP.

In the eyes of the Chinese government, Tianyi has surmounted 150,000 yuan (approximately 21,600 USD) through “illegal profits” after selling 7,000 pornographic books.

According to DailyMail, Tianyi and three others were the apprehended by the authorities sometime between last November and May. She was only just recently sentenced in the eastern Anhui province on October 31.

At the current moment, Tianyi is attempting to repeal the court decision. While that's happening, many on Weibo (China’s Twitter-like website) have pointed out how unnecessarily harsh Tianyi’s punishment is.

While Chinese law says homoerotic novels that make 50,000 yuan ($7,200) or more are subject to punishment, the sentencing of 10 years in prison is an even harsher punishment than some rapists get.

Unfortunately though, China has increased its crackdown on homosexual content. This is despite the fact that homosexuality is perfectly legal in the country.

Multiple sources of gay-themed entertainment has been censored, banned, or watered down such as the popular gay webs series Addicted, the video game franchise The Sims, and China’s first openly distributed film Looking for Rohmer, and more.

In addition, Chinese citizens have fought against suppression on sites like Weibo, which are trying to stick to the government’s strict censorship laws.

And just last week, the government increased the amount of a cash award for Chinese citizens who report “illegal” publications that distribute “obscene” material. Now, the reward can go upward to 600,000 yuan ($86,412).

Plus, the Cyberspace Administration of China recently celebrated the “cleaning up” of 9,800 accounts on Chinese social media that were spreading “politically harmful” information and rumors.

But gain, homosexuality is legal in China and the government continues to repeat its “live and let live” policy in terms of LGBTQ people. That is, as long as they don’t congregate too openly both online and off it.

Will China’s LGBTQ citizens ever see freedom?

h/t: IOL, AFP, DailyMail

A Teacher In China Was Fired Because He's Gay, And Now He's Suing In A Landmark Case

A gay kindergarten teacher is suing his former school after they fired him last month.

According to Reuters, the teacher’s court case is being considered a landmark discrimination and minority protections case for the country of China.

Back in August, the teacher, who has decided to stay anonymous, was fired from his job after he posted on social media that he attended a previous LGBTQ event. He was then told directly by the school principal that he was fired because he’s gay. Apparently, the school feared that parents wouldn’t want a gay man teaching their children.

The teacher, who had a 10 percent stake in the school, was then removed from his job without sufficient severance or payment for his stake, according to his lawyer Tang Xianqian.

“The main reason we filed this case is not just as a labour dispute but to make the gay community more visible to a wider group of people. To let more people realise that they can easily be victims of discrimination,” Tang said.

The anonymous teacher doubled down on this point by saying, “I hope that I can use this case to push forward Chinese society to be more balanced and accepting.”

While it is legal to be gay in China, there are no rights to protect specifically LGBTQ people from discrimination. Instead, there are more broad anti-discrimination laws that protect “minority groups.”

Now this case could change that as it’s the first case in China, as far as Tang’s aware of, involving a gay teacher being fired because of his or her sexual orientation.

Beyond the goal of raising awareness for LGBTQ rights and anti-discrimination laws, the teacher is hoping for an outcome where he is rehired and paid for his financial loss. The court case has been picked up by a court in Quindao, so that result is now a possibility.

h/t: Reuters

Gay Chinese Citizens Are Buying Homes In Thailand To Flee From Their Anti-Gay Government

More and more LGBTQ Chinese people are leaving cities and towns in China for more accepting locations.

Last May, we shared with you the story of LGBTQ Chinese people leaving their home-born country for the more inclusive country of New Zealand. That said, it looks like that’s not the only location that they are fleeing to.

The Bangkok Post and Juwai.com report that Bangkok and Phuket are the top two destinations in Southeast Asia for LGBTQ Chinese people.

With China constantly going back and forth with its treatment of LGBTQ people, many have fled in order to find solace elsewhere. It seems that these two cities in Thailand have become a home, or at least second home, for many Chinese citizens (gay or otherwise).

Carrie Law, the chief executive for real estate company, Juwai.com, shared that Chinese people have made 32.7 billion baht (about 1 Billion US dollars) worth of inquiries into Bangkok buildings in the past 18 months. LGBTQ people have made about US$50-80 million of those inquiries.

"They want to own property in a place they can feel comfortable visiting and living in," said Law.

This is an argument that former Chinese residents Tracey Bo and Effie Liu can attest to.

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

"We found it is impossible to settle there."

That said, the inclusiveness is only part of the reason for increase in Chinese home buyer when it comes to Thailand. The other part is because of how cheap Bangkok and Phuket are in comparison to Chinese cities.

Bangkok is one-sixth as expensive as housing in Hong Kong, according to Juwai.com. In addition, these houses are often more spacious and come with more features/amenities.

On the lower end of the spectrum, many Bangkok condominiums start at $130,000. 

While the Chinese government will continue to decide whether it really wants LGBTQ people or not, it seems some are leaving ahead of time and making a hope in Thailand. Honestly, we can’t blame them.

h/t: Bangkok Post, Juwai.com

China's Trying To Ban Taiwan From Raising Their Flag At The Gay Games 2018

This year, the Gay Games is being held in Paris and the event is getting ever closer. As that fateful time grows closer, one country is noticing that it’s being rebranded and it has a good idea whose fault it is.

Relations between Taiwan and China have been less than nice as of late. China considers Taiwan to be a part of its territory and insists on the country being referred to as “Chinese Taipei” or something to that extent.

Meanwhile, Taiwan considers itself independent, and feels it’s time to stop being called Chinese Taipei at sporting events like the Olympics. As such, they saw the Gay Games in Paris as an opportunity to start a new precedent.

As Yang Chih-chun, president of the Taiwan Gay Sports and Gay Development Movement Association, told AFP, “We will fight till the last moment to use our national flag at the Gay Games."

According to TaiwanNews, civil rights activist Chi Chia-wei also highlighted the significance of the Gay Games being the host of this precedent by saying, "Homosexuals will bravely take care of whatever the government won't!"

 Unfortunately, it looks like China’s bullying its way in.

According to AFP, Taiwan was notified by the Federation of Gay Games (or FGG) that the French government had “expressed concerns” over displaying the Taiwanese flag.

"Our logical conclusion is that China protests to the French government or otherwise this would not have happened," Yang said.

Even worse, the association is now fighting over what to call the country. The Paris games website labels them as “Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)” when the association registered as simply “Taiwan.”

"We hope the FGG can resist pressure," said Yang.

This pressure coming from China is not only affecting the Gay Games but other sectors involving Taiwan. Several international airlines and companies have changed the classification of the nation on their websites to “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei.”

In addition, the Chinese government have cut off official communication with the Taiwanese government, while inversely increasing military and diplomatic pressure.

Despite all this, politicians and Olympians are expressing their support of the 25 Taiwanese competitors participating in inline skating, table tennis, and swimming under the slogan “Taiwan Comes Out!”

In fact, Taiwanese politician Huang Kuo-chang expressed his support of the group of athletes at a press conference earlier today.

Those athletes will need all the support they can get as outside influences are trying to force their hand. As we grow closer to the start of events on August 4th, it looks like Taiwan will have to fight in order to raise its flag at the Gay Games in Paris… or anywhere else for that matter. 

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

A post shared by Charlie Campbell (@charliecamp6ell) on

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!!!!

A post shared by Allen Tang (@allentangcl) on

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.”

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