China is no stranger to human rights violations. With concentration camps for its Islamic population, a restrictive media environment, and the Hong Kong handover, China certainly is not an ideal place for complete liberty. Consequently, it is no surprise that the country is not very LGTBQ+ friendly either.
The People’s Republic of China has removed the gay dating app Grindr from multiple app stores, including Apple and Android. Chinese authorities are on a month-long crackdown on online pornography, gambling and the promotion of ‘money worship’. According to the data from an app analytics site, Qima, authorities removed the app from the ios app store on Thursday, days after China’s Cyberspace Administration announced further censorship to create a ‘civilized, healthy, festive and peaceful atmosphere for online public opinion’ for the winter Olympics.
China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997. Despite that, not much has been done to modify the political landscape to accommodate the LGBTQ+ community.
Incidents in China
Among other incidents denoting the lack of queer freedom in China, the Shanghai Pride – China’s biggest and longest-running LGBTQ festival was canceled in August 2020 due to pressure from local authorities.
In July 2021, a popular messaging app in the country, WeChat, shut down several LGBTQ accounts run by university students. When confronted, the app issued a notice saying they received several complaints, due to which they blocked the content and put the accounts out of service.
In a September 2021 crackdown on the entertainment industry, China’s communist Government targeted the LGBTQ community. It issued orders for constant surveillance of the community in a university and instructed broadcasters to stop using “effeminate men” in television programmes. This was the Government’s measure to promote masculinity and strength over Western culture. The idea was to “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics”. Authorities used the term “Niang pao,” which translates to “girlie guns”, to describe homosexual men.
Of all the homophobia talked about widely, several incidents and investigations go unreported because of China’s Government-regulated media. This is especially concerning owing to the massive population of the country. In a country like China with over 1 billion people, the proportion of the LGBTQ community is likely higher. China’s obsession with securing its principles and traditions has cost its citizens a normal and secure life.