Monocolumn: Chinese TV Host Gives Boost To Gay Rights On Government-Controlled Network

A TV host’s comment supporting gay rights on a mainstream Chinese station may be a sign of public acceptance towards homosexuality.

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

China has never been a particularly progressive place for gay rights. But a recent firestorm over a Chinese actress’s homophobic microblog posts suggests there may be a shift in societal attitudes towards the LGBT community. And in a country that only 10 years ago still classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The trouble began several weeks ago when Lu Liping — a best actress award winner last year at the Golden Horse Awards, the Chinese-language Oscars — reposted a tweet by a Chinese pastor based in upstate New York which decried the state’s move to legalise gay marriage. The actress, a born-again Christian, also posted messages on her Sina weibo account — China’s version of Twitter — citing the Bible and saying gays could be saved with help from Jesus.

The reaction online was fierce. Lu’s posts received thousands of negative comments from weibo users and the actress was also banned from this year’s Golden Horse Awards.

Perhaps most surprising, however, was the response on China Central Television, one of the Communist Party’s official mouthpieces. In a late-night commentary, CCTV host Qiu Qiming blasted Lu for her intolerance, saying that gays and lesbians “have the right to exist and develop themselves in society.”

By Justin Bergman

Image via Sulekha.com

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