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

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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.

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