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'Sherlock' Sparks Slash Fiction Craze in China, Conversation About Gay Acceptance

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The return of BBC's "Sherlock," starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous sleuth and Martin Freeman as his sidekick Watson, has brought on a frenzy of fictionalized, romantic excitement in China. Young women there called "Fu Nv," from the Japanese word "Fujoshi" (literally translated to "rotten women"), identify as lovers of slash fiction arising from television, manga, and video games. Now, Holmes and Watson have caught their attention. The newfound popularity of the show has fueled the fan fiction craze, but has also brought up important questions about the level of acceptance for real-life gay relationships in China. 

Women of China reports:

Despite the fact that Fu Nv are mainly imagining the romantic relationship between men in unrealistic scenarios, it is an indirect implication that these young women can or are at least willing to accept homosexuality. They do not view romantic relationships between men as something against nature or wrong, they perceive it as something beautiful, romantic and even promote it.

Acceptance of homosexuality is a hot issue in the world today. It is worth noting that in countries where responses are noticeably different by gender, women are far more accepting of homosexuality than men, suggested by many social science studies. The rise of groups like "Fu Nv", in a way, reflects how young women in China are changing their opinions on such matters. 

What male-male romance would you like to see in your favorite TV shows and movies? Don the Fu Nv cap and let us know in the comments below!


Here's the First Gay Rights PSA Released in China: VIDEO

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Filmmaker Quentin Lee has created China's first LGBT PSA for mobile devices and it has just been released on the website QueerComrades.com. Lee wrote, directed and edited the PSA with a volunteer cast and crew. Xiaogang Wei, founder of China’s first AIDS Walk, who just won a Vanguard Award from the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, produced it.

The PSA follows a gay man and lesbian who are marrying each other to escape societal pressure, and a mother who encourages them to be themselves.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Lee in a press release: “When I was working in China earlier this year, I took the subway in Beijing every day and I saw people glued to their mobile devices watching content. I just thought it would be great to make a short web PSA for mobile devices to empower LGBT people in China....One of my Beijing lesbian friends told me that she was about to get married with a gay man because she wanted to get her parents off her back, and I was immediately inspired to do something about how young Chinese people, LGBT and beyond, are pressured to get married which is a really hot issue right now."

He added:

“I chose the short fictional PSA format because it’s the best way to get the message out to Chinese audience on the web. The Chinese government is still relaxed on short film production. As all LGBT content is potentially subject to being banned in China, it’s a challenge to do something that talks about LGBT issues while being acceptable.”

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Check Out China's Historic Moon Landing and 'Jade Rabbit' Rover Deployment: VIDEO

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After a successful landing on Saturday, China became the third country, after the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. It was the first "soft landing" on the moon since 1976.

Then, early Sunday morning, Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center commanded the lander's 'Jade Rabbit' rover to roll onto the lunar surface to begin its mission conducting geological surveys.

Check out awesome footage of both events, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Check Out China's Historic Moon Landing and 'Jade Rabbit' Rover Deployment: VIDEO" »


Gay Activist Denied Permission to Register NGO in Chinese Province

The Chinese province of Hunan has denied gay activist Xiang Yuhan's application to form a non-governmental organization (NGO) for LGBT people because homosexuality is "against spiritual civilization," the NYT reports:

HunanStamped with the red star of the state, the response came: Homosexuality was “against spiritual civilization construction” and “in violation of morals,” the Hunan Province Civil Affairs Department said, in a rare demonstration of an official position on homosexuality from a branch of the Chinese state, which usually adopts a “don’t tell and we won’t ask” attitude.

The response, dated Nov. 26, came days before the release of government figures showing a rapid rise in H.I.V. infections among younger people, especially homosexuals, highlighting a health risk that activists say needs to be addressed with greater openness and social acceptance.


Smartphone App Blued Knocks Out Grindr And Jack'd In China

BluedA new "gay match-making" app has taken off in China, amassing a little over 2 million users in the least year according to Al Jazeera. Blued has already become more popular than Grindr, an app that is perhaps most prevalent in the United States. "I use Grindr, but people in China use it so little," said Clint Wang. Jack'd, a gay dating/hook-up app created in Belgium and popular in larger Chinese cities like Shanghai, is oft referred to by its "Chinese name jie ke di, which literally translates to a place where a sex worker finds his or her John." Still, Blued has outpaced Jack'd and Grindr, gaining preeminence in "China's second- and third-tier cities."

However, the release of the figures estimating Blued's popularity comes on the heels of China's government controlled news agency expressing concern that apps such as Blued will increase China's rate of HIV infection. However, the CEO of Blued, Geng Le, does not agree with the government's characterization of the risk:

[Le told Al Jazeera that he] feels his company is part of the solution, not the problem, to China's HIV/AIDS epidemic. "We have helped the government spread education to combat the HIV/AIDS information."

"If HIV/AIDS is an issue, it's because of bad sexual practices," like unprotected sex, and misinformation, Geng said, not apps themselves.

Tom Myers, spokesman and general counsel at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Washington, D.C., echoed Geng's opinion.

"It sounds funky to me,” he said. “I'd have to see what evidence the (Xinhua) report is relying on."

"What drives the epidemic in the U.S. and in most of the world is people who have HIV and don't know they have HIV," said Myers, adding that finding treatment allows people with HIV to become up to 96 percent non-infectious. "That's a better success rate than condoms."

Geng estimates that there are 13 million gay men in China and Blued hopes to reach 10 million smartphones across the country.


NY Times Op-Ed Highlights The IOC's Leadership Deficit

RingsIn an Op-Ed piece published earlier this week, The New York Times highlights an important upcoming election that few know about but nonetheless has the potential to impact many: the election of a new president of the International Olympic Committee. The September vote will be the first in 12 years and may in fact be, "the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the [Olympic] games." The author of the article, Human Rights Watch's Minky Worden, argues that "It is imperative that the committee elect a president willing to lead, not cave in, on this issue." Current IOC President Jacques Rogge has not left behind a sterling legacy when it comes to the IOC's commitment to human rights let alone its own charter:

The 12-year term of the current president, Jacques Rogge of Belgium, will be remembered in large part for the glaring contradiction between the I.O.C.’s explicit vision of its lofty role in the world (as outlined in the rules and guidelines of its charter) and the fact that Mr. Rogge has been responsible for two Olympics with extensive human rights violations: the 2008 summer games in Beijing and the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, which start in less than six months.

To host the Olympics, governments and cities pledge not only to build sparkling new stadiums but also to uphold the I.O.C.’s “Fundamental Principles of Olympism”: respect for human dignity and press freedom, and a rejection of “any form of discrimination.” But the I.O.C. under Mr. Rogge has failed to enforce its own rules.

The 2008 Beijing games, which cost an estimated $40 billion, led to a host of rights violations, including abuses of domestic migrant workers who were building Olympic infrastructure and a harsh clampdown on civil society and media, with punishment (including imprisonment) for those trying to protest.

Now the I.O.C. is preparing to stage another Olympics in a host country that almost appears to be taunting organizers and sponsors by flagrantly flouting its pledge.

Worden also points out that given the IOC's lackluster group of 98 voting members, comprised of "mostly sports federation leaders and members of royal families," only one of whom has criticized Russia's discriminatory laws, it will be up to corporations who have the power of the all mighty dollar behind them to push for change:

Before another I.O.C. president is selected, the corporate sponsors who make the Olympics possible should insist that the president enforce the committee’s own rules about human rights. Unless sponsors and franchise-holders like NBC, Coca-Cola, G.E., McDonalds and Visa want to risk being associated with an officially homophobic Olympics, they must find their voices — before the next I.O.C. head is anointed.


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