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China's LGBT Community Fights Stigma, Sham Marriages, Shock Therapy: VIDEO

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It's been 17 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in China. 

But the LGBT community in the world's most populous country is still facing enormous challenges, according to a new CNN "On China" report.

In 2013, a Pew survey found that only 21 percent of Chinese people favor acceptance of homosexuality. 

Practices like shock therapy to "cure" homosexaulity are still common, and there are no laws against anti-LGBT discrimination. 

In fact, the biggest issue facing the LGBT community in China is not same-sex marriage — which remains illegal — but opposite-sex marriage. 

Studies have shown that as many as 10 million Chinese women are married to gay men. That's because Chinese culture places enormous pressure on people to produce offspring — pressure that is only intensified by the country's one-child policy. 

In the LGBT community, sham marriages are the norm — and there are even websites dedicated to matching gay men and women. 

"If you're not [married], you're a monster," LGBT activist Xu Bin told CNN. "If you're above 25 years of age, and you're not married, you're an outcast — there must be something wrong." 

China's Communist government is officially neutral on homosexuality, activists say. However, national security forces watch LGBT advocacy groups closedly and have warned them about being too vocal. 

If nothing else, the CNN report is a reminder that we've still got a lot of work to do overseas, not just in countries where gays are actively persecuted, but anywhere our LGBT brothers and sisters aren't free and equal. 

Watch two videos previewing the report, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Bizarre Viral Chicken Song from China Taking the Internet By Storm: VIDEO

Chickchick

"Chick Chick" is a new single from Chinese pop group Wang Rong Rollin which has amassed more than 5 million views on YouTube. Definitely the thing to watch if your first day back at work after the weekend isn't crazy enough because this has insanity in spades, along with a few barnyard animals who are ready for the White Party.

Find out what the chicken says, AFTER THE JUMP...

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70,000 Attend Taiwan Pride 2014 - VIDEO

Taiwan Pride 2014

An estimated 70,000 people attended the LGBT Pride Parade in Taiwan on October 25th, reports Global Voices.

The number of people taking part was one of the largest since the parade was first held in 2003, making Taiwan Pride the biggest in Asia.

With this year’s theme ‘Walk in Queers’ Shoes,’ the event featured voices from marginalized LGBT groups including physically disabled people, HIV-positive people and sex workers.

A marriage equality bill was presented by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights in 2012. Although the proposed law passed the first reading in October 2013, the legislative process was suspended following a massive mobilization of opponents.

Gay rights activists this month began pushing legislators to resume implementation of the legislation. A public hearing for the bill was held on October 16.

Taiwan Pride 2014 Logo

Watch a video for Taiwan Pride 2014, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Drone Offers Bird's-Eye View Of Umbrella Revolution In Hong Kong: VIDEO

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Yesterday, we brought you news of the burgeoning Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, so named because of the umbrellas used by pro-democracy protesters to ward off the tear gas being used by riot police. Even as government officials shut down Instagram throughout the country--which was being used to disseminate images of anti-government insubordination--protesters continued to flood the streets in Hong Kong, refusing to back down.

Global Post's Timothy McGrath sums up the unrest:

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in an outpouring of frustration over politics and representation. Under Hong Kong's present electoral system, citizens don't elect their own leaders. Instead, they're appointed by a Beijing-friendly electoral committee. That will change — sort of, but not really — in 2017, when Hong Kong citizens will get to choose from among two or three candidates pre-selected by a Beijing nominating committee.

Protesters call the new electoral system "fake democracy." 

Check out a stunning video filmed by a drone showing the thousands of protesters who took to the streets on Monday, AFTER THE JUMP...

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21 Instagram Photos from the Hong Kong Protests That China Doesn't Want You to See

BY TIMOTHY MCGRATH / GlobalPost

China just blocked Instagram. Here's what they're hiding.

HkInstagram is down in China, and if you've been following the news, you already know why.

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in an outpouring of frustration over politics and representation. Under Hong Kong's present electoral system, citizens don't elect their own leaders. Instead, they're appointed by a Beijing-friendly electoral committee. That will change — sort of, but not really — in 2017, when Hong Kong citizens will get to choose from among two or three candidates pre-selected by a Beijing nominating committee.

Protesters call the new electoral system "fake democracy." Sounds about right.

As we've come to expect, social media has played a large part in getting the word out. On Twitter and Instagram, activists and sympathizers use a variety of hashtags to organize information and speak to the wider world. If you want to follow along, check out #OccupyCenter, #hongkong, #hk and #UmbrellaRevolution. The last one refers to protesters' creative use of umbrellas to defend against tear gas. Ten years from now, it might be the name we remember this demonstration by.

Beijing's not having any of it. Following a police crackdown in Hong Kong on Sunday, Chinese authorities struck a major blow against demonstrators' ability to transmit news and images of the protest via social networks. They blocked Instagram on the Chinese mainland.

What's Beijing so afraid of?

Here are 21 photos from Instagram users on the ground at the protests. China doesn't want you to see them. And if you live in China, you can't.

1) This large gathering of people

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chinese Man Sues Clinic For Gay Conversion Therapy, Calls On World Health Organization For Support: VIDEO

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A 30-year-old Chinese man using the pseudonym Xiao Zhen (pictured) has has sued two companies involved in his experience with "gay conversion therapy," which included painful shock treatments and hypnosis. The companies are Xinyupiaoxiang Counseling Center (where the therapy took place), and Baidu — China's most popular search engine (which lead Zhen to find the treatment).

The New York Times points out that China has made moves to relax laws against homosexuality, decriminalizing it in 1997 and declassifying it as mental illness in 2001. But these clinics remain popular, as less than 3% of adult gay men in China are estimated to be "completely out."

Zhen says the pressure against homosexuality is strong because marriage is universally expected of men in many parts of China, including his small hometown in the Guangdong Province. To the NYT, Zhen recounts his story coming out to his parents over the phone — they "said nothing [and] were [probably] very sad. They just sat there silently and then hung up."

In a YouTube video for AllOut, Zhen speaks about his experience with the organization that carried out his conversion therapy, and how the experience motivated his lawsuit:

They gave me electro shocks, they hypnotized me...I survived this 'treatment' and I decided to fight back. No one should suffer like I did for who they are or who they love. I decided to sue the sham clinic. It's the first time someone in China has done this and the authorities are starting to listen.

Zhen's plans extend beyond this lawsuit:

Newspapers from all over the world are talking to me but I want to go bigger. I'm asking the World Health Organization, the global medical authority, to back me up.

He is doing this with a a petition hosted on AllOut, which (as of this posting) has accumulated 108,000 signatures of its 125,000 goal.

Check the AllOut video via the above link or AFTER THE JUMP...

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