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Communist Youth League: “Being Gay is No Disorder!”

Since Chinese online regulators listed homosexuality as an “abonormal sexual behavior,” discussions about gay rights and emancipation have been dominating Weibo. Now, for the first time this week, a branch of the Communist Youth League has spoken out on Weibo in support of China’s LGBT community.

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Since Chinese online regulators listed homosexuality as an “abnormal sexual behavior,” discussions about gay rights and emancipation have been dominating Weibo. Now, for the first time this week, a branch of the Communist Youth League has spoken out on Weibo in support of China’s LGBT community.

Over the past few days, discussions about homosexuality are all over Chinese social media. On Friday, the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA, 中国网络视听节目服务协会) issued new criteria to strengthen regulations over online audio-visual content on Chinese platforms.

One of the new regulations regarded the removal of online content that “displays homosexuality” (“展示同性恋等内容”), grouping homosexuality together with incest and sexual perversity as an “abnormal sexual behavior.”

The new rules sparked outrage among Chinese netizens throughout Friday and Saturday. Thousands of people spoke out against the new rules on Weibo. LGBT account The Gay Voice (@同志之声) stressed that homosexuality is a normal sexual orientation, and that homosexual relationships and sexual behaviors should not be treated differently from heterosexual relationships.

China’s famous sexologist and respected sociologist Li Yinhe (@李银河) also attacked the new rules on her Weibo account.

The fact that Germany legislated gay marriage on the same day as the new criteria only added fuel to the fire.

 

Fujian Communist Youth League: “Remove your prejudice, you can do it!”

 

Late Saturday evening, the official account of the Communist Youth League of Fujian (@共青团福建省委) posted the following message:

“Homosexuality is not a mental illness. In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. It has been acknowledged by the international medical world that homosexuality is not a disorder. In 2006, the Declaration of Montreal has proposed the observation of May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia. They called attention to homophobia, discrimination of gay people and unfair treatment. Remove your prejudice, you can do it!”

The post soon attracted over 17000 comments, and more than 11000 shares on Weibo. It was also shared by the Weibo account of The Gay Voice (@同志之声).

The Communist Youth League is a youth movement run by the Communist Party for those between the ages of fourteen and twenty-eight. Many of the members of the Communist Youth League are university students, who hope to join the party one day.

Many netizens seemed surprised by the the post, saying: “You’re the first to speak out,” or calling the Communist Youth League their favorite ‘official’ account.

 

“It’s late a night, but I think I see some light.”

 

“It’s late a night, but I think I see some light,” one gay commenter from Jiangsu said.

A happy netizen from Heilongjiang responded:

“Thank you, Fujian Youth League! This moved me to tears. When I first saw the news I felt so awful, and then I saw that the post by Li Yinhe was removed and I started to feel pessimistic about our society, but now that I read this voice from the Communist Youth League, it really touches my heart!”

One man from Beijing responds:

“I am gay myself, and I have a partner. We’ve been together for 8 years. I would never deceive a woman by marrying her. That would harm her, and it would harm me. I want to stay together with my partner forever, through thick and thin. I hope people can show some tolerance, so that my partner and I may find our way in life, without discrimination.”

 

“Don’t forget you are the Communist Youth League!”

 

But not everybody seemed to be happy with the Youth League’s statement. One popular blogger wrote:

“Being gay is not a mental illness, but it is not normal. Although the World Health Organization has removed homosexuality from the category of mental illnesses, it does not mean that it is regular – that is a fallacy, which many gay organizations hold on to with their life. And now, the Communist Youth League in Fujian Province has also posted a CCTV post from 4 years ago to go with the trend, but you shouldn’t harm young people to become a trending topic. Don’t forget you are the Communist Youth League!”

This post received over 3000 comments, mostly from people who disagree. “You are the one who is abnormal,” many said.

Dozens of people on Weibo praise the Communist Youth League. “I never though I would say this,” one person said: “But I am proud of the Communist Youth League.”

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 Media

‘Wo Ting Bu Dong’: Rap Video Portrays Foreigners’ Life in China

Rap video “Another day in China” was shared by Xinhua News Agency.

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A new rap video posted by Chinese state media titled “Another Day in China” is supposed to depict the typical life of foreigners in China.

Chinese state media outlet Xinhua News Agency has released a new English-language rap video on December 7th about ‘foreigners’ life in China’ through its official New China TV YouTube Channel.

On the American American social news platform Reddit, people wonder if this is ‘the most embarrassing state media music video yet.’

The song is dominated by text and lacks instrumental energy. Although the people in the video dance vigorously to the chorus, it never really takes off – which makes the whole video slightly awkward, but nevertheless, fun to watch:

The video, which was produced by Ychina (@歪果仁研究协会), a Beijing-based blogging channel focused on foreigners in China, was posted on Weibo on December 5. It has since been shared 6500 times and has received nearly 20,000 likes.

The song is written and sung by a singer named Dylan Jaye (@钟逸伦Dylan, 51,000+ fans on Weibo), and describes the ‘everyday life’ of a foreigner in China, from ordering Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) to ordering stuff from Taobao and being ‘super screwed without a phone.’ In the video, Dylan is joined by his other ‘laowai’ friends, such as Amy (@李慧琳Amy), an Australian young woman with over 16,000 fans on Weibo.

On Weibo, Dylan Jaye describes it as his “genuine experience of living in China for so long.”

The song, that is subtitled in both English and Chinese, starts with the following text:

Rolling out of bed, Middle Kingdom
Knocking feeling like a drum
Breakfast at the door, jiaozi
Last night ordered them

Waimai dude speaking fangyan
I’m feeling dumb
But these days
I’ll never get bored of them

Because we’re living here in China
I’m a rhymer
Telling you the story of this setting
Through the eyes of another waiguoren
The ones that came out here they call helmsman

And now I’m flipping through Taobao
and somehow with the know-how and Zhi Fu Bao
You can buy anything you want on this website
And the things you didn’t know you wanted til sight

Dylan then continues, singing:

Call me crazy, call me crazy
But I came here for something new
Don’t say maybe, we don’t say maybe
We say this, well I can do.

And the chorus goes:

You ask why China
Yeah we reply why not China
Take on its confusing hutongs and streets
And make it on your own

You ask why China
Yeah we reply why not China
With waimai, kuaidi, Wechat
I’d be super-screwed without my phone

The singer also adds some world politics to the song when he sings:

I’ve been thinking after Donald Trump and Brexit and the chaos and the mayhem
I’ll sit here and sip oolong and I dancing with old people dancing in the park and I
Barely understand them asking who we are, reply
Ni shuo shenme? [What are you saying?]
Wo ting bu dong [I don’t understand].

As the sentence ‘ting bu dong’ [I don’t understand] is generally one of the first sentences foreigners in China know – and often use -, it has become such a cliche that in some online circles, there are even stories and cartoons about a typical foreigner in China named Tim Budong.

Over the past few years, various rap videos released by Chinese state media have made headlines in English-language media. Last year, a rap song praising Karl Marx became a hot news item. Recently, state media also explained China’s modernization through a rap song. Eearlier this year another remarkable music video was launched to celebrate the Belt and Road initiative (see below).

On Reddit, one commenter says the song by Dylan released by state media is “Pretty cringey, but there have been way cringier music videos released by the party.” Another person responds that they “personally find foreign shills to be so much more embarrassing.”

On Weibo, however, many netizens applaud the video, calling it funny and well-written: “It’s just so good,” some say, with others writing: “I just can’t stop listening to it. It’s contagious.”

– By Manya Koetse

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

©2017 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

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s New Online Campaign: “Anti-Corruption” Gifs & Video

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is propagating old ideas in new ways.

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Five years after launching its “Eight-point Regulation,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) turns to Weibo and WeChat to propagate its core values amongst Chinese netizens.

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI/中纪委), the highest internal-control institution of the Communist Party of China that enforces internal regulations and combats corruption and wrongdoings in the Party, has been remarkably active on social media this week.

Not only did the CCDI issue a set of 16 GIF images for netizens to use; they also launched a new public ad campaign reiterating their “Eight-point Regulation” (八项规定), a set of regulations aimed at instilling more discipline among Party members.

The rules were issued on December 4th, 2012, and relate to how Party members “should improve their work style in eight aspects, focusing on rejecting extravagance and reducing bureaucratic visits, meetings and empty talk,” according to Xinhua (2012).

 
8 Rules, 16 Gifs
 

On December 3rd, the CCDI issued its set of 16 gifs. The images, that are meant to share as downloadable ‘stickers’ on WeChat, are all themed around regulations to fight corruption and malfeasance in the Party.

The images warn against things such as the private use of cars meant for official business, or using public money for festive dinners and drinking.

The WeChat stickers became a hot topic on Chinese social media this weekend, although many netizens did not necessarily appreciate the latest addition to the wide collection of WeChat gifs.

“You can use them among your 80 million [Party members], the commoners have no use for them!”, some wrote. “What are the normal people supposed to do with them?” others wondered. Many comments on the stickers were soon taken offline.

 
“No Need to Spend Your Free Nights at Social Parties”
 

The CCDI is increasingly using digital media to communicate its core values to a large online audience. On Monday, Chinese state media also shared a short public ad campaign video by the CCDI.

It reflects on how the “Eight-point Regulation” have “changed people’s lives.”

The introduction text says:

You do not have to spend your after work hours on social events – coming home after drinking alcohol to find your child and wife fast asleep, leaving nobody to talk to. You do not have to spend you half-monthly wages on gifts to people who you barely even know. You do not have to surrender to the unwritten rules. In five years, the eight provisions have changed China – changing the lives of you and me.”

The voice-over in the video suggests that people now have more time to read books, work out, and spend time with family. The campaign’s main message is: “You can, but you don’t have to.”

Although the video was praised by some, there were also many who said its message might fall on deaf ears: “These ‘unwritten rules’ are not about Chinese bureaucracy, they are about Chinese culture,” some pointed out. “If you don’t give presents, you won’t succeed.”

 
Propaganda 3.0
 

Over the past few years, Chinese authorities are increasingly using social media as an important channel to share propaganda. This is often done in creative ways.

Information about important events and state visits of Chinese president Xi Jinping, for example, is often propagated online by means of a gif or short animated film, with Xi as a cartoon figure.

‘Cartoon commentary’ from China Daily 2016: Xi’s Europe-Asia Tour.

Both the One Belt, One Road initiative and the 19th Party Congress saw many gifs, cartoon, videos, rap songs, and even online mobile games that conveyed the government’s main message on core Party aims and values.

With the Chinese online population growing every day, and a great majority of this online population using WeChat and Weibo for daily communication and news-checking, social media have become an effective channel for propaganda in China today.

By Manya Koetse

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

©2017 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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