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.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
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The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.