BEIJING: In a series of crackdowns that included big tech firms, entertainment stars, business magnets, China is now targeting the LGBTQ community.
Fabien Baussart, writing in The Times of Israel said that China's communist government is coming down heavily on the LGBTQ community, initiating measures to keep them under constant surveillance in a university and instructing broadcasters to stop using "effeminate men" in television programmes in order to promote "revolutionary culture".
In a country where there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships or marriage, the attempt of the Chinese Communist Party to gain control over the country's education, culture and entertainment is ending up interfering in people's private lives.
In the latest crackdown on entertainment programmes on television, the Chinese television regulator is heard saying, "resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics". The insulting slang used for "effeminate men" is "niang pao", literally, "girlie guns," wrote Baussart.
The official concern is that television programmes are not encouraging China's young men to be masculine enough, instead of copying, as some Chinese pop stars do, the sleek, girlish look of some South Korean and Japanese singers and actors.
"China has instituted stricter censorship of LGBTQ and related terms on social media. Earlier this summer, social media giant WeChat deleted the official accounts of over a dozen student-run LGBT groups," echoed The Diplomat.
The social media swoop down came as a surprise because in recent times the Chinese government had left the LGBTQ community alone.
In July first week, WeChat, China's most popular messaging app, shut down without notice scores of LGBTQ accounts operated by university students. It came as a shock because it was the biggest and coordinated censorship targeting the community in several years.
As per The Times of Israel, this was done in response to an event in China a few weeks ago. Soccer star Li Ying created history when she became the first woman sportsperson to come out openly as gay. She posted a series of photographs on social media, including some with her partner.
The post on Weibo went viral and suddenly without explanation, it was deleted. The soccer star has not posted anything ever since. The Chinese state media did not report the incident at all. There is no official reaction to date.
Worse things were in store for the community. The media has reported that Shanghai University, which has three campuses in the Chinese city, is preparing a list of "non-heterosexual" students and those belonging to "LGBTQ rainbow groups", said Baussart.
Apart from denying several rights to them, the Chinese government has over time done things like equating homosexuality with violence and obscenity, censoring references on television, and promoting books referring to homosexuality as a mental illness, reported The Times of Israel.
It was only in 2001 that China removed homosexuality -- decriminalized in 1997 -- from its official list of mental disorders.