Intolerance and homophobia. The moral cleansing operations in China

Intolerance and homophobia. The moral cleansing operations in China
Intolerance and homophobia. The moral cleansing operations in China

Like all dictatorial regimes, the Chinese Communist one also wants to control the privacy, inclinations and, in a word, the so-called “morals” of its citizens. At the heart of this desire for control of the private sector by the state there is, of course, sexuality and the problem of gender. For this reason, the very recent – and further – government “squeeze” on the LGBTQ + community – which according to the government would adopt “amoral lifestyles” and against “normality” has not aroused particular surprise in those who know and follow Chinese facts. The “ambiguous” music stars have ended up in the crosshairs of the CCP moralists, that is, those artists, youth idols even in China, bluntly defined by the Party as “effeminate”, who in turn would convey the wrong messages among young people, the result of a “culture immoral”. Women, the “feminine” – and everything that can be traced back to it – therefore seen in China as an element of weakness and potential “corruption”, which would undermine the construction of the “socialist society” theorized by Xi Jinping. We would have to put our hands in our hair, if for some time Putin’s Russia (a great ally and friend of China) – and not only – had unfortunately not “accustomed” us to this type of utterances.

After the appeal of the University of Shanghai in recent days – which caused so much sensation in the international media – which asked through its website to “report”, and ultimately file, students with “LGBTQ tendencies”, asking about their psychological balance, in recent days the Beijing government has embarked on a real “crusade” against “gender deviations”, with the declared desire to “clean up” the entertainment industry “and openly calling young Chinese people to boycott of singers and media figures considered by the Party to be “too morally unscrupulous”, brandishing them with the offensive epithet of “sissy idols”.

A real eight-point plan has been published on the website of the national radio and television administration, where, among other things, it is stated that it is necessary to place more emphasis on “traditional Chinese culture, revolutionary culture and socialist culture. “That establish a” correct standard of beauty “, then calling for a boycott of the” vulgar celebrities “of the internet. The authorities have also tried to curb the culture of fandom, through another plan – this time in 10 points – presented by the Chinese Internet supervisor, the Cyberspace Administration, which includes actions to stop the spread of “harmful information. ”, Spread gossip or cause scandals and“ promote immorality ”in fan groups. Fan groups are big business in China with recently reporting the industry could be worth up to 140 billion yuan ($ 21.64 billion) by 2022.

The government has also banned the publication of celebrity rankings and the practice of the celebrity reality show which asks fans to vote for their idols. The new rules imposed by Chinese cyber moralists stipulate that when selecting entertainers and guests, radio, television and internet platforms cannot hire people who have an incorrect political position, break laws and regulations, or speak or behave against public order and the “normal” morality.

Male-female relationships and the sphere of sexuality have never been easy in China, since ancient times, when Confucianism relegated women to an exclusively “private”, domestic role. A will to control that has distant roots, and can be found in the Maoist period. The famous slogan “times have changed, men and women are equal”, which circulated during the Cultural Revolution, in fact, did not correspond to an appeal to gender neutrality, but instead implied a real process of “masculinization”, that is a male homologation of society which required women to behave and dress like men. Therefore, gender equality tended to create the image of a pseudo-male woman, who rejected her own femininity and, specifically, any signs of gender differentiation and the assertion of female identity. And the latest news shows that little or nothing has changed in China since then. Indeed, to the attempt to masculinize women, the terror – on the part of the Party – of a feminization of men has now been added.

The recent proposal presented by a member of the Parliament’s Consultative Conference – Si Zefu, president of an energy company in the North-East – with the eloquent title “Proposal to prevent the feminization of male adolescents”, sparked debates and reactions, even very heated , on Chinese social networks: “There are 70 million more men than women in this country, no other country in the world has such an unbalanced relationship. Isn’t this already masculine enough? ”, Asked one user, while another wrote that“ It is difficult to imagine that such effeminate boys can defend their country, when an invasion is looming ”. The Chinese government has repeatedly complained that the country’s male models would no longer be “handsome figures like military heroes”, while president Xi Jinping himself, a football fan, has hoped that China will produce more sports champions. Models considered sufficiently “masculine”, evidently, forgetting – obviously – the existence of women’s football, for example …

This climate of open intolerance towards the “different” finds its tragic confirmation in the increase in domestic violence among the so-called “sexual minorities” in China. According to a recent survey, conducted by the non-profit group Les Corner Empowerment Association on a sample of respondents who identified as lesbian, bisexual, pansexual or transgender, three out of four people said they had experienced at least one type of domestic violence – physical. psychological and sexual – from their partner, and many have refused to seek help from the police or social welfare authorities, for fear of not being protected or, worse, further discriminated against.

The data that emerged from the survey are alarming to say the least. 70.8% of respondents said they had been the victim of psychological abuse by their partners, such as receiving psychological threats to commit suicide or publicly disclosing their sexual orientation. Almost half, or 46.3%, said they had been physically assaulted or threatened with blunt objects. About 23.6% said they were sexually abused, such as being forced into non-consensual sex or being sexually harassed. These are far higher figures than what was officially reported by the Department of Social Security, which received only nine complaints of same-sex abuse in China last year. The survey also found that only 22% of victims sought help from police or social welfare officials, with the majority complaining of low satisfaction with the way the authorities handled their cases. “They would choose to ask them for help only as a last resort because they fear they will not be able to handle their problems with sufficient sensitivity and readiness,” said Chen Ji-kang, associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, commenting on the survey. , “Rather, they prefer to turn to close friends for help. Many social workers and frontline police officers are only used to dealing with domestic violence between heterosexual partners and lack the professional know-how and sensitivity to handle these situations among sexual minorities, ”insisted Professor Chen.

In the past, the LGBTQ + community was very active on Chinese university campuses, but as the political and social dynamics have changed in China in recent years, the LGBTQ + community has become increasingly marginalized. Shanghai Pride, China’s only major annual celebration of sexual minorities, announced its closure last year. Event organizers said the move meant “the end of the rainbow” for them. “It has been a great 12-year journey and we are honored and proud to have traveled this journey of awareness and promotion of diversity for the Chinese LGBTQ community,” they wrote in an open letter. In July, dozens of social media accounts run by LGBTQ + college students were blocked and then deleted without warning. The accounts were a mix of registered student clubs and unofficial grassroots groups, and some had operated for years as safe spaces for Chinese LGBTQ + youth, with tens of thousands of followers.

The intolerance of the Chinese Communist Party has not only targeted members of the LGBTQ + community, but also groups of feminists who, to protest against or the exponential increase in intolerance and abuse, had staged a singular protest in recent months, when a hill in the Chinese desert was literally covered in large red and white banners, each with an insulting phrase received from feminist groups on the internet: “I hope you die, feminist bitch”, and “Little bitch, fuck feminists”, were among the most “kind”. In response, the popular Weibo social media platform closed around twenty accounts. All owned by the victims.

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