Posts Tagged ‘enter the clowns’

Changing Times for Queer Lives in China

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Lesbian wedding in China (Photo from crtv.nl)

by Isabella Tianzi Cai

In a “Letter from China” column for the New York Times on September 1, 2010, Howard W. French elaborates on China’s changing attitude towards queer culture based on his personal observations in Shanghai. Having worked and lived in Shanghai for just under a decade, French is well aware of Chinese people’s increasing psychological tolerance towards homosexuals in their midst.

French says that it is most evident in “public intimacy between women,” which he supports in the letter by recounting a few of his personal experiences, most memorably, witnessing two teenage girls kissing passionately in a Shanghai subway car, without regard for the older passengers watching them with consternation. It should be noted that this incident is without precedent; a similar event in 2008 was captured on video and created a stir when posted on the internet.

French offers his understanding of this social phenomenon:

As this society rapidly grows richer, its social fabric and mores have been changing in ways far more dramatic than even the physical landscape, and sexual choice and expression are arguably in the leading edge of this upheaval.

Although this trend, as articulated by French, is more or less inevitable, the transition from a conservative society to a liberal one is neither as easy or as fast as he makes it out to be.

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Shelly on Film: What is a Chinese Film?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

By Shelly Kraicer

San Yuan Li

San Yuan Li (dir. Ou Ning, 2003)

What is a Chinese film? Ever since I’ve started living and working in Beijing over six years ago, most serious discussions about Chinese cinema ultimately come down to this elemental question, either in its descriptive mode (what defines a Chinese film?) or in its more urgently prescriptive version (what should a Chinese film be?). Often, it’s filmmakers themselves who seem most anxious about the issue. Behind it lie several subsidiary anxieties: “What do Westerners want from Chinese films?”, “What’s my role in Chinese society?”, “Are films art, or commerce, or politics?”

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Queer China: Mainland China’s First Gay Pride Event

Friday, June 12th, 2009

ShanghaiPRIDE WeekJune 7 saw the launch of China’s first gay pride event, ShanghaiPRIDE, which includes club events, film screenings, art shows and panel discussions on the issue of homosexuality. It is the largest festival of LGBT communities in mainland China to date. On June 10, China Daily praised the event as a “showcase of the country’s social progress alongside the three decades of economic boom” and “an event of profound significance”. However, later that day, BBC News reported a government ban on a play and a film screening, which proves that homosexuality is still a complicated and controversial issue in China, although with more tolerance than before.

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