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

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.

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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 at night, but I think I see some light.”

 

“It’s late at 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 Insight

Chinese State Media Launch ‘Hold Your Mother’s Hand’ Campaign with Xi Jinping at Forefront

“Go back home often and hold your mother’s hand, as Xi Jinping does too.”

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With the online ‘hold your mother’s hand’ campaign, various Chinese state media stress the idea of ‘homecoming’ and the importance of family ties. President Xi Jinping is represented as the perfect ‘family man’ leader.

During the Lunar New Year Holiday, the ‘coming home’ theme is always an important one on Chinese social media. For many people, the Spring Festival is the only time of the year to reunite with their families, something which is annually highlighted by media and social media users.

This year, however, it seems that Chinese state media outlets such as People’s Daily, China Daily, and CCTV have a special focus on the ‘homecoming’ theme. Besides subjects such as ‘China’s new era’, the Belt & Road Initiative, and the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up policy, the idea of people ‘coming home’ and being home in China was an important subject woven throughout the 2018 CCTV New Year Gala last Thursday.

The New Year Gala, that is China’s biggest live televised event, is produced by the CCTV and is an important opportunity for Chinese authorities to propagate political ideas and concepts.

This time, the show featured a comical sketch about a Taiwanese couple in the PRC, which was literally called ‘homecoming’ (回家). A special part of the show featured the ‘homecoming’ of a ‘national treasure’ painting to the Palace Museum. A public service ad broadcasted during the show also stressed the idea that there is ‘no place like home.’

Comical skit during the 2018 Gala focused on ‘homecoming’.

But the ‘homecoming’ idea is also propagated beyond the Gala, as various online campaigns are now themed around ‘homecoming’ and family ties. One of them, featuring an image of Xi Jinping and his mother, was published by various official state media Weibo accounts.

“How long has it been since you spoke to your mum?”

On February 19, People’s Daily started its “Hold Mother’s Hand” (#牵妈妈的手#) social media campaign by posting a video about urban white-collar workers who are “too busy” to visit their mother.

The video first shows images of people at working, going into meetings, and sleeping at their desk. The voiceover says: “You want a stable job. You want to succeed in life. Be acknowledged by others. You want to stay ahead of others, or at least, you don’t wanna fall behind. You want a better future than the hard times in the present. You’re busy, super busy. (..)”

The video then shifts to images of several older women, waiting by the phone, or sitting at the kitchen table. “How long has it been since you spoke to your mother about what’s on your mind?” the voiceover asks: “How long has it been since you had a taste of your mother’s cooking? Or since you went together on a walk? How long has it been since you held her hand?”

Then we see a woman at her desk, scrolling through her phone and looking at a picture of Xi Jinping walking hand in hand with his mother, with a Tang poem depicted beside it and read aloud by Xi (“慈母手中線,遊子身上衣”). The first part of the poem loosely translates as “The threads coming from a caring mother’s hand, are in the clothes of a traveling son.”

The smiles appear on people’s faces when they pick up the phone to call their mother and then go to visit her. “Go home for Spring Festival. Give your mum a hug, give yourself some warmth,” the final slogan says.

‘Daddy Xi’ as the “People’s Leader”

The campaign video was promoted online through the “Hold Your Mum’s Hand” hashtag #牵妈妈的手#, which had received 500 million views on Weibo by Monday night.

The photo of President Xi Jinping holding the hand of his mother, Qi Xin, was used in the campaign ‘profile’ photo. This image reiterates the idea of Xi as the ‘People’s Leader’ (“人民领袖”), an idea that was recently also propagated through another video by People’s Daily and CCTV, as described by Sinocism editor-in-chief Bill Bishop in “The People’s “Leader” Xi Jinping Gets A New Propaganda Title.”

New York Times reporter Chris Buckley (@ChuBailiang) noted that the new propaganda about Xi Jinping promotes the term “family-state realm” (家国天下), with Xi as the “father of the nation.”

President Xi Jinping is also nicknamed “Xi Dada” or “Big Daddy Xi” because of his approachable and friendly image (although that moniker was banned from Chinese media in 2016).

Strong nation built on strong family ties

It is not the first time that ‘homecoming’ and taking care of one’s parents is an important subject in state media propaganda; not just for the sake of promoting the image of China as a strong nation built on strong family ties, but also to actually encourage children to look after their parents.

China faces an aging population, and because of the One-Child Policy and the huge migration from rural to urban areas, there is a problem in providing sufficient care for China’s senior citizens. It is one of the reasons why children are spurred to visit their parents often – it was even stipulated in a 2013 law.

“Now People’s Daily is also encouraging us to show filial piety,” one commenter wrote.

But there are also people who were seemingly affected by the campaign: “My mum is the best mother in the world. She’s invested so much in me. Now I feel so guilty,” one netizen said.

“I’m happy I could go home and see my parent’s this Chinese New Year,” another person commented below the video: “Their hair has turned white, but we get along better now – our bond is stronger than before.”

There are also commenters, however, who have different – more practical -concerns on the issue: “My mum doesn’t like holding my hand. She thinks it’s too mushy and says it feels like she’s holding a rat.”

By 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 Arts & Entertainment

CCTV Spring Festival Gala 2018 (Live Blog)

It’s time for the CCTV 2018 New Year’s Gala – follow the highlights and the low points here.

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It is time for the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, one of the most-watched, most-discussed, and most mocked lived television events in the world, taking place on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. What’s on Weibo discusses the ins & outs of the 2018 edition and the social media frenzy surrounding it in this live blog.

The biggest live televised event in the world, the CCTV New Year’s Gala, also known as the Spring Festival Gala or Chunwan (春晚), is a true social media spectacle. On February 15th 2018, the 36th edition of the 4-hour-long live production is taking place.

The show, that is organized and produced by the state-run CCTV since 1983, is not just a way for millions of viewers to celebrate the Lunar New Year (除夕); it is also an important opportunity for the Communist Party to communicate official ideology to the people and to showcase the nation’s top performers.

Watch the live stream here on What’s on Weibo (if you have no access to YouTube, please check the CCTV live stream here).

What’s on Weibo provides you with the ins & outs of the 2018 Gala and its social media frenzy, with updates before, during and after the show. Follow our liveblog below (we recommend you keep your browser open – you’ll hear a ‘beep’ when updated). (Note: this live blog is now closed, thank you!).

By Manya Koetse, with contributions via WeChat from Boyu Xiao, Diandian Guo, and Tim Peng

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

If you enjoy What’s on Weibo and support the way we report the latest trends in China, we would appreciate your donation. It does not need to be much; we can use every penny to help pay for the upkeep, maintenance, and betterment of this site. See this page for more information.

©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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