Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

January 16, 2017

Defense Ministry Gay Themed TV Episode Shown on China Pulled by YouTube


TAIPEI, Taiwan --YouTube has pulled an episode of the Defense Ministry's TV show that features a soldier broken up with by his same-sex partner.

Titled "Rainbow," the half-hour segment of the Ministry of National Defense's "Ju-guang Corner" (莒光園地) showed service members supporting a gay soldier who recently loses an off-base love interest.

The show is broadcast nationwide over Chinese Television System (華視) on Thursday, with reruns on Friday and Saturday.

The official online version of the video was removed by YouTube after users flagged it on grounds that it violated community guidelines. Cached backups of the episode remain online.

The Alliance of Crying for Hope (搶救台灣希望聯盟) blasted the "Rainbow" segment -- calling the government "shameful" and "needing medical attention."

"Imagine what kind of island Taiwan would become if the military became the breeding ground for AIDS. Taiwan's own self-destruction means that China wouldn't even need to invade," the post added.

Before the video's removal, a majority of comments in the discussion section was supportive of the episode, with some applauding the ministry's decision to face the issue of LGBT service members.

In a statement released on Facebook on Friday, the MND said it was "thankful and respectful of diverse societal opinions."

"The segment highlights the consolidated workings of counseling and members of the military supporting one another during difficult times. Combined with support from families, the counseling framework ensures that soldiers can serve with peace of mind," the MND stated.

Taiwan’s Legislature is poised to consider groundbreaking amendments to its civil code this year that legalize same-sex marriage.

The China Post news staff

January 13, 2017

China LGBT Rights Move Thanks to Student’s Activism in Courts

Xin Ying, executive director to the Beijing LGBT Center which campaigns for gay rights 
walks past a relief sculpture depicting a family outside a court where the first court case
 in China involving so-called conversion therapy is was held on 31 July 2014 in Beijing, China. Image via AP.

Chinese courts are slowly advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) discrimination cases, while other areas of fundamental human rights remain dire under President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian regime, U.S.-based human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday in its annual global report.

“Possibly because their activism is not considered threatening to the state, LGBT individuals enjoyed some success advancing legal cases in 2016,” said HRW.

Human Rights Watch’s 687-page report reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries.

China was found to show few signs that the ruling Communist Party’s authoritarian stance is likely to improve, with the outlook for fundamental human rights such as freedoms of expression, assembly, association, and religion remaining bleak.

However, the report noted there were areas of “modest improvements” in 2016, among which was LGBT rights.

Xin Ying, executive director to the Beijing LGBT Center which campaigns for gay rights walks past a relief sculpture depicting a family outside a court where the first court case in China involving so-called conversion therapy is was held on 31 July 2014 in Beijing, China. Image via AP.

The organisation cited the case of Qiu Bai, a student at Sun Yat-Sen University, who sued a Chinese provincial education department over textbooks that depict homosexuality as an illness.

The textbooks had described LGBT individuals as “sick” and suggested methods to “cure” them of their “sickness”, such as “Repulsion therapy: Induce nausea with forced vomiting or fear of electrocution when thoughts of having a lover of the same sex emerge”.

A year earlier in 2015, she had filed a similar suit, but withdrew it after the department promised to look into the matter. When their promise was not kept, she decided to sue again.

Qiu’s fight started from her province – from library to university to publisher. When her complaints fell on deaf ears, she brought it all the way to Beijing.

During the hearing at Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, the Ministry of Education sent two representatives, but neither they, nor the Ministry, wanted to comment.

The decision is now pending and it is likely an unfavorable one, according to Qiu’s lawyer, Wang Zhenyu. But he added that he found the judge tried to be fair, adding: “I’m not surprised that Qiu Bai was given at least five minutes to make a statement. When we had a pre-trial meeting with the same judge, they always seemed amicable. I think the judge understands that we’re fighting for a chance for Qiu Bai to speak up.”

“But I hope that the judge can fulfill their responsibility in line with the law and give us a ruling that we can accept,” said Wang.

Many have stated the fact that the case had finally come to court was already a victory in itself.

January 11, 2017

China’s LGBT Spring Driven by a Gay Economy

Below is an article I was hopping to see about China and its about the LGBT population we never thought we would see it accurately shown this way. Aware of events supplied by pictures coming from China of gays feeling freely at times to show some displays of attention, not that it would be in the same openness as in a major city in the US. Still for a close society as China had been, these were always welcoming. AS we read this report  from byCharlie Campbellwe can see a substantial incremental positioning of the LGBT in China. 
It’s amazing that while Russia descends into the old USSR policies of singling out a particular community for political gains for their leadership. China becomes more than just tolerant but actively works with people not because they are LGBT but because they are smart and have taken hold of their part of the economy to make themselves visibly needed.     [adamfoxie*blog]


Midnight has just struck at a nightclub in Beijing’s toney Sanlitun neighborhood, and the dance floor is alive with lime-green wigs and clashing daiquiris. On the stage, a blonde drag queen called Hathor—after the ancient Egyptian deity—performs a strutting lip-sync to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” while girls in vintage suits and penciled mustaches whoop encouragement.

“Every bar wants a gay night right now,” says Marlon Ma, 25, who puts on Beijing’s award-winning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) event GLAM and organized the city’s first drag show last year. “I move venues every six months,” he tells Fortune, rubbing thumb and forefingers together in the international sign for hard cash. “Before it was probably half foreigners but I’m seeing more Chinese now than ever before.”

Beijing’s gay scene has shifted from the fringes to the mainstream of Beijing nightlife, as the world’s most populous nation — or at least its major cities — becomes grudgingly more accepting of alternative lifestyles. Helping things along is the realization that China’s burgeoning LGBT community — estimated at some 70 million people— is a free-spending sector that few businesses can afford to ignore.


CHINA-GENDER-FASHION-BUSINESS Yu Xiaoyang – who uses the stage name Xiao Bai meaning “Little White” – performing in Big Queen, a cross-dressing contest in the Icon Club in Shanghai on March 18, 2016.
The country's so-called “pink economy” is currently valued at $300 billion per annum, making it the world's third largest after Europe and the U.S. (Globally, the LGBT community is estimated to spend more than $3 trillion each year.)

There's even a Pride festival. Now in its eighth year, the ShanghaiPRIDE arts and advocacy festival encompasses concerts, film screenings, a “fun run” and gastronomy in China’s giddy financial hub. Although it was once treated with suspicion, all manner of businesses now clamor to be listed as sponsors.
“It’s progressing and we see a lot of new faces every year,” says cofounder Charlene Liu, 43, a semiconductor engineer by profession. “The most resistance we had was the first year, as nobody knew what it was — it was even my first PRIDE. One year we had to sit down with seven or eight government departments. But now we are cool with them.”
China even boasts the world’s most popular LGBT socializing app, called BlueD, whose 27 million members surpasses even global gay hookup phenomenon, Grindr. Late last year, BlueD launched a live-streaming platform that now has more than 100,000 users.

“The consumer power of the gay community is robust, but it has always been neglected,” says BlueD CEO and founder Geng Le — a former police officer. “We want to tell people that the pink economy is very strong.”

BlueD’s swanky new Beijing office testifies to that. The sweeping open-plan design is straight out of Silicon Valley, right down to the mid-floor gym equipment and mini-fridges crammed with Red Bull. But this is an unabashed LGBT enterprise; around three-quarters of staff are gay, and neat rows of computers sit amid rainbow murals and paintings of Greek-figured hunks draped in sheer clothes. Even the conference area chairs come in a vivid palate of rainbow colors. It’s here that BlueD just held a Pink Economy Innovation Contest that attracted more than 60 LGBT-facing business pitches.
“The whole society is moving forward, it’s becoming more accepting, more diverse, and individual value is more emphasized,” Geng tells Fortune, a photograph of himself meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hanging overhead.

Official endorsement wasn’t easily acquired. BlueD’s first incarnation, launched as a website 16 years ago, was a little more risqué than its current slick app and was frequently shutdown. But a proven commitment to social responsibility has since helped assuage the authorities. Now BlueD reminds users every three months to take a free HIV test at one of its centers (there’s one on the ground floor of its Beijing headquarters).

“BlueD has a lot of dialogue in China, with officials, and we help educate society about the gay community,” says Geng. “We push everything forward.”

The slowly growing acceptance of LGTB lifestyles prompted Zhu Qiming, the CEO of Beijing tech firm G-Star Technologies, to plow $140,000 into developing a mobile role-player computer game specifically for the gay market. Due for release later this year, Rainbow Super Band allows a player to choose an avatar and customize it to match their personality. (One of the avatars is a bible-clutching priest. “Do you think that’s a problem?” asks Zhu.)

Players can form relationships with other users though positive interactions, even buying virtual gifts — snazzy watches or shoes, for example — with real money, providing G-Star with a revenue stream. “We are making a very large-scale, complicated game for gay people,” Zhu tells Fortune. “We provide the social gameplay so this group can meet others with the same interests.”
And yet, acceptance is still a relative term throughout much of an an essentially priggish nation. Same-sex liaisons were famously celebrated in early Chinese literature and art. However, society became horribly strait-laced following Mao Zedong’s revolution, when sexuality was sublimated to the great cause of communism. Homosexually was made a crime, and while it was decriminalized in 1997 it remained classified as a “mental illness” until 2001.
Today, cultural friction remains due to deep-rooted values regarding the primacy of the family and the common desire for a male heir. Although regulations have now been loosened, for decades the One-Child Policy reinforced intense obligations felt by grown children to procreate to please their aging parents. As a result, an estimated 70% of gay Chinese have entered into a heterosexual marriage, according to prominent sexologist Li Yinhe.

Familial pressure can manifest in shocking ways. Last year, a man in central China’s Henan province alleged he was subjected to 19 days of beatings and the force-feeding of drugs at a mental hospital after coming out to his parents and wife as gay. The 37-year-old underwent the “conversion therapy” after being sectioned by his family for a “sexual preference disorder.”

Tolerance remains scant in the provinces and among broader audiences. Last summer, a gay Internet soap opera called Addiction was nixed three episodes short of its 15-show run, despite being the second most popular show on iQiyi — China’s version of Netflix. And Ma says that after his first drag show last year 95% of reader comments in the national media were horrifying. “Even gay people from other smaller cities were saying it’s disgusting,” he says. “They didn’t understand what a drag act was, that it’s a type of performance. That was really sad and a reality check.”

Neither will Chinese LGBT activism follow the same path as the West's. There is no free press and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is paranoid about any expression of community solidarity outside its auspices, especially those rooted in popular mobilization. “If you have 300 people walking down the street then it could be read as a protest,” says Ma. 
That means business and the pink dollar have to be at the vanguard. Last summer, ten same-sex couples won a free gay wedding ceremony and honeymoon in California courtesy of Taobao, the online-shopping platform run by Alibaba, which obviously felt comfortable enough to run the competition despite gay marriage being illegal in China. In January, a transgender man won a landmark court case for unfair dismissal against his employer. Says Ma: “Once my generation is grown up everything should be way easier.”

That is also when the real dividends of China’s pink economy will be reaped. As Liu points out, today’s gay Chinese with real spending power — aged 30 to 50 — are typically in closeted heterosexual relationships. But some young Chinese are able to “come out” in their teens or 20s to a somewhat more accepting society, and the beginnings of a social apparatus to help them thrive in their own skin. This generation has not yet reached its peak economic potential. “Right now, China’s pink economy is still in a nurturing stage,” says Liu. “But in five, ten years you’ll see it really blossoming.” Call it China’s LGBT Spring.

December 19, 2016

How Gays in China Accustomed to Secrets Will Deal with a Dating App

BEIJING — Ma Baoli was accustomed to secrets.

By day, he was a police officer in northern China with a wife and a knack for street chases. By night, he led a life as a gay man, furtively running a website for gay people across China at a time when many were viewed as criminals and deviants.

For 16 years, Mr. Ma kept his secret, worried that coming out would mean expulsion from the police force and estrangement from his family. Then in 2012, his superiors at a police department in Qinhuangdao, a coastal city in Hebei Province, uncovered his website and he resigned.

His job lost, his family struggling to accept his sexuality, Mr. Ma set out to turn his passion for connecting gay people into an empire. He created Blued, now China’s most popular gay dating app with an estimated value of $600 million and more than three million active daily users, about as many as Grindr, a popular gay dating app in the United States.

Mr. Ma, 39, said he saw his mission as working to legitimize same-sex relationships at a time when gay people, especially in China, still face discrimination.
“In the past people wouldn’t even talk about homosexuality because they thought it was dirty, it was filthy,” he said. “The internet can help support gay lifestyles, to make people know they are not alone and that their feelings are genuine.”

Mr. Ma also sees a lucrative business opportunity in China’s so-called pink economy, as more people look to spend money on gay-themed social networking sites, entertainment and travel. The spending power of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in China is estimated at $460 billion per year, making them the largest market in Asia, according to LGBT Capital, an investment management firm.

But translating Mr. Ma’s instincts into an enduring business model has proved challenging. Like many popular technology start-ups in China, Blued is only beginning to make a profit; most of its services, including chat, live-streaming and a news feed, are free. Attracting advertising remains difficult, with some companies reluctant to be associated with a business that caters to gay people.

Mr. Ma has set his sights on foreign markets, hoping to take on established players like Grindr and Hornet. While Blued now dominates in China with more than 80 percent of the gay dating market, analysts said it would probably be difficult for the company to build a large following overseas.

“Culturally, people work differently,” said Paul Thompson, a co-founder of LGBT Capital based in Hong Kong. “It’s much easier to build up this real concentrated drive in one marketplace than it is to do it in lots of places.”

Growing up in northern China as the son of a factory worker and a housewife, Mr. Ma hoped to go to college and become a teacher. But his parents thought his dreams were too costly, and he was sent to the local police academy instead.

It was there, he said, in a macho culture that revolved around talking about women, that he realized he was gay.

At the time, in the mid-1990s, gay sex was considered a crime in China and homosexuality was classified as a psychological disorder. At the police academy, Mr. Ma took courses on criminal psychology where cadets were told that gay people should be viewed suspiciously because they were more likely to commit crimes.

“When I realized I was different from other people,” he recalled, “I thought I was ill.”

Mr. Ma turned to the internet for advice. But instead of finding a supportive community, he found rants describing gay people as lunatics and perverts. On health websites, he was bombarded with recommendations to seek medication and electroshock treatment.

After becoming a police officer, Mr. Ma was inspired in 2000 to start his own website,, Chinese for “light blue,” evoking the clear coastal skies of his childhood. The site offered chat forums and advice on reducing the risk of H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. Danlan soon became a popular way for gay men in China to connect in an age when many had been resorting to scrawling meeting dates and places on bathroom stalls, worried about the stigma of coming out.

At work, Mr. Ma chased burglars, filed incident reports and recorded public service announcements. In his spare time, he raced to the keyboard, writing essays for Danlan and chatting with friends under the pseudonym Geng Le.

Mr. Ma kept up the routine for more than a decade. He married, under pressure from friends and family. But when his supervisors confronted him about his website in 2012, he offered his resignation. His family was devastated.

“Both of his parents were very traditional, and they thought their kid had a really good job,” said Wu Guoxin, 38, a friend from the police academy. “There was nothing he could do.”

Mr. Ma’s relationship with his wife soon dissolved. His mother was stricken with cancer and Mr. Ma worried that his decision to come out had contributed to her illness. The family agreed to never speak about his sexuality again.

IN his new life as a high-powered technology executive, Mr. Ma still goes by the alias from his Danlan days, Geng Le. In meetings with business partners, he retains the deliberative demeanor of a police officer, nodding his head intently in silence, as if interviewing a witness at a crime scene.

In a sprawling office in central Beijing, where portraits of scantily clad men hang on the wall, Mr. Ma leads a team of about 200 employees. In one corner, workers scan Blued posts for illegal pornography. In another, a team adds Chinese subtitles to a movie that Blued produced in Thailand.

The company is trying to increase its revenue by expanding into gay travel and entertainment.

Mr. Ma also hopes to bring more advertising to the app, and he sees potential for growth in live-streaming features, a wildly popular form of communication in China. Blued has more than 200,000 hosts who broadcast around the clock on a variety of topics — music, dating, fitness and cooking. Some earn up to $15,000 a month in tips paid by users, the company says, with Blued taking a share of each payment.

As he works to build his business, Mr. Ma said he was also looking for ways to improve the lives of gay people in China. Blued offers free H.I.V. testing at clinics in Beijing, and the company has helped pay to fly same-sex couples to the United States to be married.

Mr. Ma said he was optimistic that long-entrenched stereotypes were fading in China and that within two decades, the country would embrace ideas like same-sex marriage.

He quoted his idol, the founder Jack Ma, in describing both the challenge of building a successful start-up in China and the struggles of the gay-rights movement.

“When I’m at my most painful moments,” he said, “I remember what Jack Ma said: ‘Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.’ ”

Owen Guo 

December 4, 2016

Experts Say Trump’s Taiwan Call Could be a Serious Provocation

President-elect Donald Trump's phone call Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen signals a new openness to improving protection of the island nation, long viewed by China as a breakaway province, according to one Taiwan expert. 
But the mixture of a Trump presidency, with a new and uncertain view toward Asia, and a party in power in Taiwan that has historically supported Taiwanese independence could also prove "lethal" in the the next few years, Jerome A. Cohen, director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law School, told NBC News. 
"The combination could lead to a very severe provocation of the regime in Beijing and causing them, especially at a time when the military seems to have great influence, to attack Taiwan or create at least another Taiwan-straits crisis," said Cohen, who is also an adjunct senior fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.  The exchange between Trump and Tsai made headlines Friday as the president-elect has had talks with a number of controversial global figures, including Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Tsai's office confirmed the congratulatory phone call in a statement, saying the friendly discussion touched on such topics as promoting development of Taiwan's national economy and strengthening its national defense. 
Trump also tweeted Friday about the call, which a Taiwanese official said was prearranged. Trump noted that Tsai phoned him and in another tweet wrote, "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call." 
The last part of that post sparked its own controversy in Taiwan. Some criticized a Chinese-language translation that, according to the Epoch Times, reportedly appeared in several news outlets and made it sound as if Trump should not have accepted the phone call. Those news organizations are largely seen by Taiwanese as supporting closer relations between China and Taiwan.  In 1949, the two sides split amid the Chinese Civil War, and the Nationalist party, headed by Chiang Kai-shek, moved its government to Taiwan. The island later lost its U.N. seat to China in 1971. Eight years later, the U.S. established diplomatic relations with Beijing, recognizing it as the sole legitimate government in China. 
The U.S. still maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan, pledging in the Taiwan Relations Act to help the island maintain its self-defense capabilities. 
 While the phone call is believed to be one of the first between a U.S. president or president-elect and a leader from Taiwan in decades, Cohen said it did not violate diplomatic protocol because Trump, who heavily criticized China on the campaign trail, is not yet president and is still a private citizen. 
"Although as a matter of custom and respect for our relations with China, previous leaders have not engaged in such a conversation, I'm not upset about it," Cohen said. "And the Beijing response in public suggested they're trying to play it down in order to maintain the possibility of good relations with Trump." 
"Just because something has never been done before," he added, "doesn't mean it shouldn't be done for the first time." 
China, for its part, responded to the call in a statement, saying, "It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. One China policy is the political basis of China-U.S. relations." 
A spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council said after Trump's phone call that the administration remains "firmly committed to our 'one China' policy."  More broadly, Trump's communications with leaders like Tsai and Duterte, as well as his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in November, could signify part of a larger strategy in Asia, Cohen said. 
"And that is to show increasing American strength, that we are not going to withdraw from the Pacific and certainly even the South China Sea, that we're going to fortify our friends there and allies, as well as try to take away from Beijing those countries that show some prospect of going either way — for example, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines," he said. "They're all up for grabs now." 
Elaine Chao, Trump's choice to head the Department of Transportation, could also play a role in U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, Cohen said. Born in Taiwan to parents from China, Chao served two terms as President George W. Bush's labor secretary. 
"What people have noted is her relationship to her husband and his prominence now in the Senate," Cohen said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "So this could be a very important influence." 
He continued, "Now, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be sympathetic to the mainland. If anything, I think it could be the other way. Her sympathies could lie with the rather tough-minded Republican Asia policy."  Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, center, gestures during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei on Oct. 10, 2016. AFP/Getty Images

Cohen also reflected on how Tsai's predecessor, former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou, might have handled a hypothetical call with Trump. During his eight years as president, Ma brought China and Taiwan closer together, signing more than 20 trade agreements with the mainland while earning dismal approval ratings at home with Taiwanese. 
Ma, whose Nationalist party has historically favored eventual reunification with China, was also one of Cohen's former students at Harvard Law School. 
"I don't think [Ma] would have done it without sounding out Beijing, unless relations had begun to sour," Cohen said. 
"But this phone call has made people sit up and take a fresh look at the anomalies with our relations with Taiwan and the mainland," Cohen added. "Here we are sending billions of dollars selling weapons to Taiwan, and we can't have a phone call between the leaders? It’s kind of bizarre."


November 28, 2016

Why China Needs a Conversation About Gays,Sex and HIV

Lin Hui, a student in China, thought condoms only served to prevent pregnancy. So when he had sex with another man, in high school, he didn’t think he was exposing himself to any risk.
Lin, who asked that his real name not be revealed, was diagnosed with HIV in 2014, a few months before turning 18. He is now a university student in Nanjing, keeping the virus in check with daily medication. He feels resentment, however, about contracting a disease society taught him little about.
“I never imagined it could happen to me,” Lin says. “There is very little sex or HIV-prevention education in schools or in society in general. People only talk about it around World Aids Day, and then we forget about it.”
Lin is one of a growing number of young people in China to have been diagnosed with HIV in recent years. While the country has managed to dramatically reduce HIV transmission through drug use and blood transfusions, the rate of new, sexually transmitted infections among young people has accelerated in the past five years, particularly among men who have had sex with other men.

Almost 17,000 people aged between 15 and 24 were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, according to China’s National Centre for Aids/STD Control and Prevention (NCAIDS). That was 10 per cent more than the number of new cases identified in 2014 in the same age group, and more than double the number of new cases reported in 2008.
Over the past decade, the number of HIV transmissions among young Chinese has increased by as much as 20 per cent annually. China’s health authorities have recognised the problem but have been slow to respond.

“The real challenge today is especially among young populations, especially among young gay men,” says Bernhard Schwartländer, the WHO representative in China. “There’s a real spread of HIV in these populations, and we don’t seem to reach them well. I think it’s a real challenge to Chinese society to deal with populations that are outside of social norms, that are different in some way.”
Almost 70 per cent of the people aged between 15 and 24 years who were diagnosed with HIV last year were infected through homosexual sex. Of the students in that age group, gay sex was the cause of infection in 82 per cent of cases, according to NCAIDS. About 3,200 students received HIV diagnoses last year, but four times as many newly infected young people were outside the school system.
This suggests that starting HIV prevention education in university might already be too late, because most young people at risk are outside of college campuses, says Catherine Sozi, UNAids country director for China.
“So if they don’t get the information while they’re in school ... then it’s a bit of a missed opportunity to help young people” gain the knowledge that will help protect them, she says.
The Ministry of Education and the National Health and Planning Commission have mandated six hours of sexual education for all middle school pupils and four hours for high school students.
But few schools offer any type of sex education, sexual health activists say. And when they do, classes are usually focused on biological changes during puberty, not on relationships or gender identity diversity.
Liu Shi, project manager at the non-profit Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, sees two barriers preventing young people from receiving sex education in schools. One is parents.
“So many parents want their children to stay away from any sexual education before college because, especially if the sex education is in high school, they are worried that their kids may be encouraged to have sex earlier,” says Liu, who is HIV positive.
Many Chinese parents want their children to concentrate on studying for the national college entrance exams, wait until college to have personal relationships, and wait until they’re married to have sex, after graduating from university.
The reality, of course, is different. Technologically savvy, and increasingly free from the constraints of living with their families in small, rural communities, young people are exploring their sexuality earlier and more boldly than previous generations. At the same time, sex remains a taboo subject in schools, official discourses and pop culture.
“There’s not enough government and social publicity,” says Wang Long, founder of the non-profit Zhejiang Love Working Group. “Movies, TV series, talk shows, newspapers and radio all avoid talking about sex.”

The Ministry of Health has a condom distribution programme, but condoms adverts are banned from television.
Even though many universities have programmes, clubs or lectures that address HIV prevention, the message often goes astray, according to Martin Yang, China Aids Walk project manager at Beijing Gender Health Education Institute. The content fails to resonate with young people, or they merely ignore it, Yang says.
“I think the perception of a lot of people in this country is that [HIV] is far away,” says Sozi. “It’s a sex worker somewhere, and some gay man somewhere. It’s not here.”
Health workers are realising there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way they tackle HIV/Aids prevention, she says. “We’re still doing what we did 20 years ago,” Sozi adds. “There’s been no shift in keeping up with the emerging populations and how they do things, how business is done. It’s done on the phone; it’s no longer posters and reading newspapers.”

At the Blued offices in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, employees are making last-minute preparations for World Aids Day events. Blued is China’s largest gay dating app, with 27 million users. Since 2008, its parent company, Danlan, has worked with government agencies on online and offline HIV prevention efforts.
The app has a section with information about HIV, and a feature that allows users to find the nearest testing centre and make an appointment. There are regular live-streaming events and photo contests. Its HIV-related information has logged 70 million views in 12 months, says Hank Chen, director of Danlan Public Welfare.
“Compared with the entertainment feature and the socialising feature, the HIV-prevention feature is not that popular,” Chen says, adding they are looking at new ways to get the message across.
Discussion on HIV prevention should not just involve medical terms, says Fabio Scano, a disease control coordinator at the WHO Beijing office. It should be tied to people’s lifestyles, and to combating stigma and discrimination by involving more NGOs and community groups. In particular, gay men should be involved in “the planning and implementation of services: from being merely service providers, to full partners in planning”.
The government has established a fund for NGOs to tap into for HIV testing. However, funds are not available for most advocacy or awareness-raising work.
Yang of China AIDS Walk wants students to become more involved in the search for efficient ways to get the HIV-prevention message across to other young people. The organisation is making available micro-grants for student groups at 100 universities around the country to conduct their own outreach experiments. The funds come from individual donations but should be enough to plant the seeds of community work among students.
“It can be anything from a board game to a radio show,” Yang says. “It will give them the opportunity to disseminate information and be creative.”

imina MistreanuWang YanSouth China Morning Post
Additional reporting by Qu Chaonan

September 4, 2016

President Arrived at a Changed Sour China for Summit

 The problems began as soon as President Obama landed in China.
There were no stairs waiting for him to disembark from his usual door at the top of Air Force One.
On the tarmac, as Obama’s staff scrambled to get lower-level stairs in place for him to disembark, White House press photographers traveling with him tried to get in their usual position to mark his arrival in a foreign country, only to find a member of the Chinese welcoming delegation screaming at them.
He told the White House press corps they needed to leave.
A White House official tried to intervene, saying this is our president and our plane and the media isn’t moving. 
 Obama is greeted at Chinese Airport

The man yelled in response, “This is our country!”
The man then yelled more and entered into a testy exchange with Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, and her deputy, Ben Rhodes, while trying to block them from moving toward the front of the plane. 
On what is probably his last visit to China, there were flare-ups and simmering tensions during Obama’s meetings with Chinese officials — a fitting reflection of how the relationship between these two world powers has become frayed and fraught with frustration. Over the past seven years, that turbulence with China has colored and come to define Obama’s foreign policy at-large in Asia.
On Saturday, several White House protocol officers and other staff arriving at a diplomatic compound ahead of Obama’s meetings were stopped from entering and had heated arguments with Chinese officials in order to get in.
“The president is arriving here in an hour,” one White House staffer was overheard saying in exasperation.
A fistfight nearly broke out between a Chinese official trying to help the U.S. diplomats and a Chinese security official trying to keep them out. “Calm down please. Calm down,” another White House official pleaded.
Twenty minutes before the arrival of Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two sides were still arguing in the room where the two leaders would soon be meeting to talk about cooperation. The Chinese insisted there was not enough space for the 12 American journalists traveling with Obama. U.S. officials, pointing to a spacious area sectioned off for the media, insisted there was.
High hopes turn to pivot
When Obama became president in 2009, he began with high hopes of improving U.S.-China relations. He tried reaching out to Chinese leaders with offers of increased engagement and decided not to meet with the Dalai Lama to avoid angering Beijing, to the disappointment of human rights advocates.
 Obama became the first U.S. president to visit China during his first year in office. But his administration was taken aback by how completely the Chinese controlled all aspects that visit. “He wasn’t allowed to say much at all,” said Orville Schell, a longtime China scholar who was in China during the visit. “The Chinese kept him from meeting certain people, from taking questions or even radio broadcasts. He didn’t know quite how to respond. He didn’t want to be impolite. It took the U.S. a while to understand that this was the direction China and the relationship was headed.”
Some have blamed Obama for adopting such an overly optimistic and open stance during those early years. For all his outreach, current and former top U.S. diplomats say, Obama has gotten little in return, except the feeling of being burned by Beijing.
But that result could be equally attributed to the simple fact that China itself was undergoing a seismic shift during those early years of Obama’s presidency.
When the global recession plunged the world into financial crisis in the late 2000s, China escaped unscathed. Its leaders looked around and realized for the first time just how much power China had attained in becoming the world’s second largest economy. And shortly after, they began eagerly throwing that weight around.
No longer were they willing to make concessions or bide their time, from big things, such as territorial claims, down to the nitty-gritty of negotiations over who sits where and says what in diplomatic exchanges.
Obama’s response to this newfound Chinese assertiveness was largely a response to reality. “In a textbook, it would be great to have a strategic vision for how you see things being eight years now,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, Obama’s top Asia adviser during those early years. “But in this case, I think the word ‘reaction’ is right. You had a China that was changing in capacity and leadership.”
If the carrot of engagement didn’t work, the Obama administration decided, they would try the stick. And they gave this tougher policy a name: the “Pivot to Asia.”
The pivot policy boiled down to the idea of turning the resources and attention of the United States away from perpetual problem areas in the short term, such as the Middle East, to Asia — an area that would have clear long-term strategic importance in coming years. 
Those overseeing the pivot strategy, senior U.S. officials said at the time, studied other examples in history, where one power was rising while others were declining: Germany’s rise in Europe after World War I; Athens and Sparta; the rise of the United States, itself, in the past century.
The pivot strategy was developed out of a belief that China would respond best to a position of strength. To find that leverage, the United States planned to forge stronger ties with its traditional allies in Asia and pick up new allies among neighbors alienated by China’s new aggression — including Vietnam, Burma and India.
Using that multilateral approach, the thinking went, the United States could offset China’s rising military power and assertiveness.
Doubts in Asia and among allies
The main problem with the Asia pivot was one of perception and substance.
European and Middle East leaders expressed concern with the idea of U.S. attention and priorities suddenly shifting from their regions to another. Chinese leaders saw the pivot as a U.S. conspiracy to interfere with China’s goals and to slow its rise.
Meanwhile, the very Asian allies the pivot was meant to reassure had their doubts, as well. Many wondered how much of the U.S. pivot was empty rhetoric and how much of it would be backed by economic and military substance.
In recent months, those doubts have resurfaced because the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal Obama cobbled together as a way to reach out to Asian allies, may die for lack of support among Congress and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, in the years since the pivot strategy began, the U.S.-China relationship has soured to its current fraught state.
Both countries today are trying to avoid open hostility but are increasingly wary, hedging and frustrated with each other. Other countries in the region continue to fear China’s rise but at the same time are not fully convinced that the United States will be a sufficient counterweight.
The U.S.-China relationship may be the biggest problem Obama’s successor will face in Asia. How he or she deals with it — the exact proportion of carrots and sticks chosen and the Chinese response — will probably define the region in the decade to come. 
If this visit by Obama is any indication, the situation is not likely to get better anytime soon.
On Saturday, even as the two presidents finished their talk and prepared for a final nighttime stroll toward Obama’s motorcade. Chinese officials suddenly cut the number of U.S. journalists who could cover them from six to three, and finally to one.
“That is our arrangement,” a Chinese official flatly told a White House staffer, looking away.
“But your arrangement keeps changing,” the White House staffer responded.
In the end, after lengthy and infuriating negotiations, they settled on having just two journalists witness the leader’s walk.

August 10, 2016

He Told His Chinese Wife He’s HIV But Never Would He Tell He’s Gay

 Gay sex is easily found in China

When HIV first emerged in China, it was largely transmitted through blood transfusions. China managed to contain tanat epidemic that broke out in the 1990s, but now HIV rates are on the rise again.

This time, it’s among gay men. Last year, men who have sex with men accounted for about 28 percent of all new HIV infections in China.

That includes gay men who are married to women.                                     

Maitian lives in Chengdu with his wife. They have been married for 20 years and have an 18-year-old son. Maitian is not his real name. He asked us to use a pseudonym because he is gay and HIV positive.

Maitian says shortly before he got married, he started exploring his sexuality. At the time, homosexuality was punishable under the crime of “hooliganism.” In 1997, China eliminated the crime of hooliganism, and homosexuality was in effect decriminalized. Four years later, it was removed from a list of mental illnesses in China.

Even though He’s gay, Maitian says he always expected that he would marry a woman and have a child. Living with a man was never an option.  Even though he's gay, Maitian says he always expected that he would marry a woman and have a child. Living with a man was never an option.  

Zhang Beichuan, a professor at Qingdao University's Medical School who researches gay issues, estimates that China is home to more than 21 million gay men, and more than half of them are married to women.   

Maitian says he always expected that he would get married and raise a child. Living with a man was out of the question for him. Although there are young gay Chinese who live openly in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, they are still a small minority.

“I think that is only for the privileged,” Maitian says. “We are just common people and we have a lot of everyday business to take care of. Our parents and our siblings are concerned about how we lead our family lives.”

Maitian says he stayed in his traditional marriage, but he continued to meet up with men.

The first time he went to a gay bathhouse in Chengdu, he says someone gave him an address and he found the place on his own. He says he was amazed that it was filled with men like him. He soon became a regular.

“I got what I wanted,” Maitian says. “And it didn’t cost much. I was satisfied.”

He says he didn’t use condoms at the bathhouse.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of HIV among gay men in China was about 8 percent in 2015. That’s up from 1.3 percent in 2004. Among the concerns about the rising rates are that gay married men with HIV would transmit the virus to their wives.

In 2009, Maitian went in for some minor surgery at a local hospital, and they gave him an HIV test. Maitian tested positive, though he says he didn’t even know what HIV was. He went back home and searched online and found photos of people with HIV who had lesions all over their bodies. Maitian says he felt scared and helpless. Later, he joined an online support group for people living with HIV, which helped him deal with his fears.

Local health officials pressed Maitian to bring in his wife for testing. But it took him a year to tell his wife that she should get an HIV test. He says she nearly broke down when she learned she had HIV. She couldn’t believe it.

Confronted with the dilemma of whether to tell his wife about his secret life, Maitian chose to shift the blame.

“Our son was born in 1997 via C-section and she had to have a blood transfusion. So I said it must be from that. And she believed it,” Maitian says.

Over the years, Maitian says his wife has more or less accepted the transfusion explanation. There were moments when she asked him why their son tested negative for HIV, and he pointed out that their son was not breastfed. He says she never really asked him again how they both became infected. Now Maitian and his wife are on medication and are relatively healthy. But it hasn’t been easy.

“HIV is not like other diseases. It’s a lifetime disease. It takes a great toll on our bodies,” Maitian says.

“I feel very guilty for my family and for my wife. As much as I can, I think I should do more for my family and for her.”

But there is one thing Maitian doesn’t plan to do: Tell his wife that he is gay.

Originally Posted at pri.ORG

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