Chi­nese so­ci­ety learn­ing to ac­cept LGBT com­mu­nity

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL - By Liu Lulu

The de­ci­sion by China’s Sina Weibo to re­move comics and videos with “porno­graphic im­pli­ca­tions, pro­mot­ing bloody vi­o­lence or re­lated to ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity” trig­gered pub­lic up­roar over the week­end. Ne­ti­zens im­me­di­ately lam­basted Sina for smear­ing and dis­crim­i­nat­ing against ho­mo­sex­u­als by lump­ing their iden­tity in with pornog­ra­phy. Hash­tags #Iam­gay and #Iam­gayno­ta­per­vert were widely cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

As an in­clu­sive and di­verse so­ci­ety, China has spared no ef­fort in pro­vid­ing a friendly en­vi­ron­ment for all groups of peo­ple to live and thrive on an equal foot­ing. In the mean­time, China is a tra­di­tion­ally Con­fu­cian so­ci­ety, which at­taches great im­por­tance to the need to carry on the fam­ily line. This means ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is re­garded as at odds with China’s tra­di­tional val­ues.

Many Chi­nese still hold tra­di­tional views on les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­sex­ual (LGBT) peo­ple. This re­flects dif­fer­ences be­tween Chi­nese and West­ern so­cial tra­di­tions. It’s not an is­sue of hu­man rights. Progress has al­ready been seen in this re­gard af­ter years of ef­forts. The mas­sive out­cry over Sina’s pol­icy is a sign of China’s grow­ing ac­cep­tance of the gay com­mu­nity. More en­cour­ag­ingly, Sina back­tracked on the ban Mon­day fol­low­ing the on­line back­lash. This shows that China is more will­ing to carve out a space of tol­er­ance for LGBT peo­ple.

How­ever, some West­ern me­dia out­lets have used Sina’s gay ban as an ex­cuse to crit­i­cize China’s grip on the in­ter­net and sup­pres­sion of free­dom of speech.

“China’s on­line space has come un­der in­creas­ingly tighter con­trol,” The Guardian com­mented. BBC Chi­nese quoted a homosexual film­maker: “This [Sina’s pol­icy] con­cerns ba­sic hu­man rights.”

In fact, all civ­i­lized so­ci­eties, in­clud­ing West­ern, have seen dis­crimi- na­tion against LGBT peo­ple in dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­men­tal phases. Take the US, which of­ten boasts about its hu­man rights record, as an ex­am­ple. The coun­try listed ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity as a so­cio­pathic per­son­al­ity dis­tur­bance in 1952.

West­ern me­dia out­lets de­lib­er­ately con­nected Sina’s pol­icy to China’s hu­man rights con­di­tions. It’s an old trick of the West to use hu­man rights to at­tack China’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. Chi­nese peo­ple have grad­u­ally be­come used to it, and there’s no need to pay too much at­ten­tion to dis­torted West­ern re­ports.

China’s so­cial me­dia may draw lessons from this case. While man­ag­ing in ac­cor­dance with the law, they'd bet­ter sup­ply a fo­rum for dis­cussing these kinds of so­cial is­sues that ex­pand the bound­aries of so­ci­ety's knowl­edge and aware­ness. We’re con­fi­dent that China will be more open in this re­gard.

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