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China Sex & Gender

Bold Breastfeeding Photos of Kyrgyzstan’s President’s Daughter Spark Debate on Weibo

The daughter of President Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan, Aliya Shagieva, recently sparked controversy for posting photos of breastfeeding her newborn son on Instagram. On Sina Weibo, Chinese netizens applaud Aliya for breaking taboos around breastfeeding in public – a recurring topic of debate on Chinese social media.

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The daughter of President Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan, Aliya Shagieva, recently sparked controversy for posting photos of breastfeeding her newborn son on Instagram. Aliya’s pictures are a bold statement in a country where the influence of religious ideology over how women should dress and act is considerable. On Sina Weibo, many netizens applaud Aliya for breaking taboos around breastfeeding – also a recurring topic of debate on Chinese social media.

Photos of the 20-year-old daughter of Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev, Aliya Shagieva, breastfeeding her baby are being widely shared and discussed on Chinese social media this weekend.

Aliya Shagieva made headlines earlier this month after she posted multiple revealing photos on her Facebook and Instagram (@homesickbluess), sparking a storm of criticism in Kyrgyzstan, where an estimated 80 percent of the population is Muslim.

Aliya Shagieva is the youngest daughter of the leader of Kyrgyzstan. She got married last year and revealed her pregnancy in March, when she posted a picture of her baby bump.

After she gave birth to her son, Tagir, she posted multiple photos of her breastfeeding her baby.

The photos sparked controversy in Kyrgyzstan, with many saying it is wrong for a woman to show off her body and with people calling Aliya “shameless” and a “disgrace to her father.”

Aliya’s father, President Almazbek Atambayev, made international headlines last year when he attacked people who are critical of women who wear more revealing outfits. At a press conference, he stated that women are more prone to become radicalized if they put on Islamic dress, saying: “Women in mini-skirts don’t become suicide bombers.”

According to a report published by the Forum of Women’s NGOs of Kyrgyzstan, the influence of religious ideology in Kyrgyzstan “substantially contributes to discrimination against women.” Bermet Stakeeva, programme officer at the forum, previously told The Guardian: “Islam has a strong influence on women, how to dress and act and it’s now being discussed widely, in mosques and on television, that women should live moral lives.”

Aliya responded to the criticism online saying that it is not right to sexualize breasts this way and that “the most important purpose of female breasts is to breastfeed” and that it is “nothing to be ashamed of.” She emphasized that women’s breasts are not men’s pleasure objects.

Sina Hubei and other Chinese media accounts posted the photos and Aliya’s statements on Weibo on April 21, soon triggering thousands of reactions. The majority of netizens supported Aliya, saying that breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed of and applauding her for her stance and braveness.

“Kyrgizstan is a country where the majority of people are Muslim (..),” one person commented: “It’s good that she’s the daughter of the President, otherwise she could’ve been killed for this,” one netizen wrote.

“I saw these photos on WeChat and I really admire Aliya’s bravery,” one girl wrote.

“Only human thoughts are dirty, not any part of the body,” a popular comment said.

Many Weibo users wrote comments such as: “She is completely right. Breasts are for feeding your baby, there’s nothing offensive about it.”

Breastfeeding is a recurring topic on Chinese social media. In 2015, an incident where a mother was shamed for breastfeeding on the Beijing subway caused huge controversy on Weibo, even attracting the attention of UNICEF and Beijing authorities.

One Weibo user at the time said the mother should “pay attention to her manners in public place” and that she should not “expose her sex organ.” Weibo netizens collectively responded to the issue; some agreeing that breastfeeding in public is inappropriate, while others defended the woman.

Although the majority of Weibo netizens show their support for Aliya Shagieva in normalizing breastfeeding, not all netizens were supportive: “It’s great that your motherly love is so big, but why do you need to show it off like this?”

Others agreed with this stance, saying: “We all know how mothers feed their babies, but you’re the daughter of the president, why do you want to show us? I don’t want to see it.”

“What is she doing not wearing any pants,” one female commenter said: “She’s shameless.”

As for the young mother Aliya Shagieva herself – it seems that she is no longer active on social media after her photos attracted the attention of national and international media. On April 23, her Instagram account @homesickbluess was no longer available.

– By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Sex & Gender

Altercation between LGBT Supporters and Guards at Beijing’s 798 Art District

A ten-second video is causing commotion on Weibo and WeChat.

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Local guards turned violent on Sunday when people wearing and giving out rainbow badges at Beijing’s trendy 798 art district were reported as holding an “illegal gathering.” The badges were meant to raise awareness for the International Day Against Homophobia.

This article was updated on Monday, May 14, 17:30 (Beijing time).

On Sunday, May 13, an altercation between people wearing rainbow badges and local guards at the Beijing 798 art district caused much commotion on Chinese social media after footage leaked online, showing at least one female being knocked to the ground.

According to sources on Weibo, there were people giving out rainbow buttons for free to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia (May 17/国际不再恐同日) before the altercation occurred, but there are no official media sources reporting on the incident at time of writing. (Update 05/14: Global Times has now reported that “security staff at Beijing’s 798 Art Zone who roughed up two women for wearing rainbow badges on their clothing have been harshly criticized by LGBT groups and other netizens on Chinese social media on Sunday.”)

Buttons in support of the LGBT community at 798 art district.

WeChat lifestyle blogger Zakki (@zakki吉吉), however, did report on the issue, saying that Weibo netizen Piao Quan Jun (@票圈君) was one of the initiators behind the idea to give out badges in support of May 17 at the 798 art park.

Via Wechat / @zakki吉吉

Other people on Weibo also posted photos of the event, which showed that besides giving out badges, Piao Quan Jun also gave out free hugs to people.

On Sunday late afternoon, police cars allegedly came to monitor the area where the people were giving out the badges, and the activity was marked as an “illegal gathering.” Local guards started to surveil the area and denied entrance to the park to those wearing rainbow badges.

The 798 art zone is a relatively large area that used to be an old factory complex, and has now turned into an artistic community area full of exposition spaces, restaurants, and shops. It previously was the main venue for the annual Beijing Queer Film Festival.

According to Zakki, things turned violent when two females and guards clashed over the rainbow badges, which is the moment of the video that is going viral.

Although the topic was discussed by many on Weibo and WeChat, articles and videos of the incident were soon taken offline.

“Today we won’t be silent,” one Weibo user wrote: “We will raise our voice for love. Although it scares us what happened today at 798, we cannot give up our right to love and be loved.”

By Sunday late night (Beijing time) the hashtag “798 Beating” (#798打人#) received more than 250,000 views. Hours later, the page and hashtag were taken offline.

“Are public security guards allowed to beat people?” a typical comment read.

“Today, for now, I won’t discuss homosexuality or LGBT, I just want to discuss why you beat someone at all. What gives you the right?”, one commenter said.

Censorship on gay-related issues and content in China has recently gained more attention on social media sites such as Weibo. Last month, Weibo administration issued a notice saying it would no longer allow “gay content” on the site, which was reversed within days after an online uproar against the ban.

This week, China broadcast of the Eurovision Contest was revoked after Chinese broadcaster Mango TV edited out rainbow flags and other gay-related footage of the semi-final on its channel.

“I have difficulties understanding why our country would prohibit homosexuality,” one Weibo user writes: “Isn’t it a normal thing? Is it because it is not in line with your family planning program?”

Will update when more information is available.

By Chauncey Jung and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

Weibo’s New Online Guidelines: No Homosexual Content Allowed

The official Weibo Community Manager announced a 3-month-ban on online content on April 13, including that on displays of homosexuality.

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On April 13, Weibo’s Community Manager issued a notice with new guidelines for the social media platform to “create a bright and harmonious community environment.”

In the notice, that received near to 20,000 comments and over 96,000 shares shortly after it was posted (see screenshot), the official Sina Weibo account writes that, in order to “fulfill the corporate responsibility,” the platform will adhere to Internet Security Laws in strictly overseeing cartoons, games, videos, and other related content published on Weibo for a 3-month-period.

The Weibo Community Notice says its “clean-up” mainly targets content related to cartoons, images, and short videos relating to pornography, “bloody violence”, and homosexuality.

Violent content, such as that of the Grand Theft Auto game, will also not be allowed to appear on the social media platform.

According to the account, a total of 56,243 related violations were already “cleared” at the time they published the notice.

Although the announcement received many comments, they were not viewable at time of writing.

On their own accounts, many netizens also shared their views on the announcement: “According to China’s classification of mental disorders, being gay is not a mental illness,” one person writes: “Heterosexuals and homosexuals enjoy the same basic human rights. Publishing homosexual content is not illegal, and it should not be banned. It is my right to publish this post, and it would be wrong to delete it.”

“I object to Weibo’s guidelines against homosexual content. This is 2018, why do you still want to control everything people say?”

The slogan “I am Gay” (#我是同性恋#) also took off shortly after the announcement, with hundreds of netizens raising their voice against the guidelines by using this hashtag, some combining it with the hashtag “I am illegal” (Or: “I am breaking the law”) (#我违法#).

“If we don’t raise our voices now, then when will we?”, some said. “I am homosexual, and I am not proud of it, neither do I feel inferior,” one person stated.

This is not the first time the regulations for online content regarding the display of sexuality on Weibo are sharpened. In 2017, Chinese authorities also issued a statement in which they wrote that online audio-visual content on sites such as Sina Weibo would no longer be allowed to have any “display of homosexuality.” At the time, the Communist Youth League responded to the guidelines by posting: “Being gay is no disorder!”

Another commenter says: “I am an adult, and I should be able to view books, cartoons, or videos targeted at an adult audience. You’re now telling me I can’t view content relating to sexuality?”

“I am equal,” one Weibo user writes: “Why can’t we just respect each other?”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.


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©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

 

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2017

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