Trends and Buzz
Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 at 1:01 PM
The Pink Republic of China
The magazine pictured on the left is the August 1 issue of state-owned Xinhua's biweekly Globe. The large cover line reads:
30,000,000: the troubles of China's homosexuals.
This a rough translation of the beginning of the feature article:
Surveys have shown that China's homosexual population could be as big as 30 million. According to statistics from Chinese forum portal ChinaBBS.com, there are more than 50 influential gay online forums... the actual number of gay online communities is considerable.
Just two weeks later, the state-owned newspaper China Daily published an article about a new course at Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University: Gay Studies:
Set to start in September, the course will examine the health, legal and social issues relating to homosexuality, said Sun Zhongxin, an associate professor of sociology who will lead the course.
These stories represent a direct message from the state, from the central government contolled by the Communist Party: It's OK to be gay.
Conventional wisdom in the West suggests that 10% of any human population is gay, meaning there are more than 130 million gay Chinese. You might prefer Globe's figure of 30 million, which is equal to half the population of Great Britain.
The fact that influential organs of the central government have unambiguously recognized the rights of so many people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a cause for celebration — if you believe in old fashioned ideas about freedom.
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