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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, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Media

Surprise Attack: CCTV6 Unexpectedly Airs Anti-American Movies as China-US Trade War Intensifies

“They have no new anti-American films, so they’re showing us the old ones instead.”

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CCTV 6, the movie channel of China’s main state television broadcaster, has gone trending on Chinese social media today for changing its schedule and playing three anti-American movies for three days in a row.

Some suggest the selection for the movies is no coincidence, and that it’s sending out a clear anti-US message while the trade war is heating up.

The three movies are the Korean war movies Heroic Sons and Daughters (英雄儿女, 1964), Battle on Shangganling Mountain (上甘岭, 1954), and Surprise Attack (奇袭, 1960), airing from May 17-19 during prime time at 20:15.

Ongoing trade tensions between China and the United States heightened when Trump raised an existing 10 percent tax on many Chinese imports to 25 percent earlier this month. Chinese authorities responded by raising taxes on many American imports.

Over the past week, anti-American propaganda has intensified in Chinese state media, with the slogan “Wanna talk? Let’s talk. Wanna fight? Let’s do it. Wanna bully us? Dream on!“* (“谈,可以!打,奉陪!欺,妄想!”) going viral on Chinese social media.

The movies broadcasted by CCTV these days are so-called “Resist America, Help North Korea” movies (“抗美援朝影片”).

The ‘Resist the USA, Help North Korea’ (or: “Resist American Aggression and Aid North Korea”) was a propaganda slogan launched in October 1950 during the Korean War (1950-1953). China came to the assistance of North Korea after the war with the South had broken out in June that year and the UN forces intervened in September.

The government, led by Mao Zedong, sent troops to fight in the war. Mao’s own son, Mao Anying, was killed in action by an air strike a month after the start of this 3-year war against US aggression in support of North Korea. The war ended with the armistice of July 1953.

“That’s not a target, it’s the enemy: American Imperialism.” Political poster from 1950 (http://military.china.com/).

“Resist USA, Aid North Korea” propaganda poster抗美援朝.

All three movies aired on CCTV6 are set during the “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Battle on Shangganling Mountain focuses on a group of Chinese People’s Volunteer Army soldiers who are holding Triangle Hill for several days against US forces.

Heroic Sons and Daughters tells the story of a political commissar in China’s volunteer army who finds his missing daughter on the Korean battlefield.

Surprise Attack revolves around the mission of the Chinese army to blow up the strategic Kangping Bridge, cutting off supplies to the American army and allowing the Chinese to engage in a full attack.

On Chinese social media, the unexpected decision of the CCTV to change its original schedule and to air the three historical films has become a much-discussed topic, with many people praising CCTV6 for showing these movies.

The issue was also widely reported on by Chinese media, from Sohu News to Global Times, which called the broadcast programming itself a “Surprise Attack.”

Not all netizens praise the initiative, however, with some commenting: “It seems that there are no new anti-American TV series or movies now, so they’ve come up with these old films to brainwash us.” Others said: “This kind of brainwashing is not useful.”

Many Weibo users, however, just enjoy seeing classic movies, saying “They don’t make movies like this anymore,” and “It’s good for the younger generation to also see these classics.”

If you’re reading this article on Saturday night China Central Time, you’re still in time to watch the airing of Battle on Shangganling Mountain on CCTV6 here.

Update 18th May CST: It seems that a fourth movie has been added to the series now. This might just become the CCTV6 Anti-American movies month! We’ll keep you updated.

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

*Translation suggested by @kaiserkuo.

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

©2019 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

The Lawyers Are Here: Chinese State Media Popularize ‘Rule of Law’

The Chinese TV show ‘The Lawyers are Here’ is “helping the people through the rule of law.”

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The Lawyers are Here (律师来了) is a weekly television program by state broadcaster CCTV that focuses on the legal struggles of ordinary Chinese citizens. The program educates through entertainment, and in doing so, propagates core socialist values such as equality, justice, and rule of law.

You just bought a new house when you discover its locks have been changed and you’re denied access. Together with five colleagues, you’ve been working in a factory when your boss suddenly lays you off without explanation. You won a lawsuit but still have not received the settled compensation. What to do? What kind of rights do you have as a Chinese citizen?

These kinds of legal cases are at the center of a weekly Chinese TV show called The Lawyers Are Here (律师来了), which was first aired on CCTV’s Legal Channel in 2017 as a follow-up to the 2016 I am a Barrister (我是大律师).

The Lawyers Are Here introduces a different legal issue every week. The problems range from the aforementioned examples to people wanting custody over their child or a former patient fighting a negligent hospital for financial compensation.

Besides the TV host (Cao Xuanyi 曹煊一) and the people involved in the case, every 45-minute episode features various topic experts and four lawyers who offer their views and advice on the matter.

Each show begins with a short video explaining the story behind the case, after which the participants analyze the different legal aspects. One person provides further clarification at certain moments throughout the show by reading from Chinese legal texts.

Once everybody has a clear picture of the current situation, the show enters its most thrilling stage. Background music heightens the tension as the lawyers have to answer the most crucial question of the night: are they willing to take this case? It is then up to the party involved in the case to choose the lawyer they trust the most to win their case.

The Lawyers Are Here describes itself as “China’s first legal media public service platform.” It does not only offer help to the common people on the show who are caught up in legal issues, but it also informs viewers on how to handle certain problems, and educates people on China’s legal system.

One 2018 episode featured a female nurse from Beijing who was seeking help in getting divorced from her abusive husband. The woman only wanted a divorce if she could get full custody over her 15-month-old son. The lawyers on the show explained that if the woman could prove she suffered from abuse at the hands of her husband, she had a stronger case in getting full custody.

The woman, visibly upset, tells that she has never reported the abuse to the police, but that she did go to the hospital and took photos of her injuries. Although the lawyers on the show predicted that the pictures and hospital records would be sufficient evidence for the court, they also strongly advised all viewers to always report these incidents to the police.

Legal advice on the show goes beyond family-related issues. In another episode, a victim of a fraudulent car dealer was reprimanded by the lawyers for signing a contract before thoroughly reading it. “Never sign a contract before reading it completely”, the show warned, also telling viewers never to be pressured into signing a contract.

The Lawyers Are Here also often shows how the people featured on the show receive help from their lawyer after filming, and how a dispute is finally settled in court.

 

Popularizing Rule of Law

 

Every episode of The Lawyers Are Here starts with the slogan “The law is the rule, help is the intention” or “Helping the people through the rule of law” (“法为绳墨, 助为初心”).

By clearly reinforcing the message of ‘live by the law and justice will prevail,’ The Lawyers Are Here serves as a media tool to propagate the idea of ‘Governing China with Rule of Law,’ which is emphasized by the Party leadership.

“Rule of law” is one of the 14 principles of ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ and one of the 12 Core Socialist Values. This idea is clearly promoted throughout the show, along with other socialist values such as equality, justice, and integrity.

Image via 博谈网.

An important aspect of promoting the idea of a nation that is ruled by law is educating people on Chinese law, and, perhaps more importantly, creating more trust in legal institutions among the people.

Besides news media and other forms of propaganda, TV shows such as The Lawyers Are Here are effective tools for doing so. Not only does it present legal cases in a popular and modern way, even adding a game factor to it, it also personalizes it by letting the people tell their emotional stories – sometimes even moving the TV host to tears – and showing that the law can resolve complex family or business problems in an efficient matter.

On social media, people compliment the CCTV show for “bringing justice to ordinary people” and “standing up for the weak.”

“I hope we can have more programs such as these,” one Weibo commenter writes.

The Lawyers are Here is broadcasted every Saturday on 18:00 at CCTV12.

By Gabi Verberg, Manya Koetse

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

©2019 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. ©2014-2018

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