Gay Chinese designer profiled

It’s nice to see Xinhuanet carry a story like this. There’s no doubt of the progress being made on the social front in China. Now, when will we see parallel progress on the political front?

Related Post: Gays in China

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Richard, I certainly welcome some of the changes of social values in China (e.g acceptance of gays and more open attitude toward people’s sexual life). But I think it’s more of a result of the changed political strategy rather than increased respect for individual rights. Few in power today cares about people doing the “wrong” things as long as their authority is not threatened. Moreover, these smart rulers have learned to use symbolic events to show the world how much China has changed toward a modern and free country. Last year, Hainan province warmly held the Miss World Pageant with the support of central government (it is impossible to held such an event in China without approval of the top and it’s said the Hainan authorities paied £6m for the right to stage the contest). This seems to be quiet a revolutionary step given that twenty years ago any woman who dared to wear make up in their daily life would certainly be considered lewd. But why not? Those smart party members have learned to “leave the past behind and only look ahead at future”. They expected to benefit from the contest financially (although I doubt they did); they got a chance to show the world they are not that out of touch of today’s global community; and Of course, they also love to see women showing their body for prizes. In Mao’s days, women (and men) were deprived the right to show their beauty and their natural tendency to love beauty. This was certainly a tragedy. But Chinese women today are not better off so much although they regain their right to be beautiful. Who knows how many baby girls are abandoned and how many women are trafficed everyday; domestic violence has been sharply increasing along with discrimination against women in job market; and there’s prevalent practice of polygamy implicitly acknowledged by the society. But this would not worry the elite in power too much because the victims pose little threat to their ruling. Actually, many of them totally agree, deep in their heart, that there’s nothing wrong to use women as rewards for successful men like them. So the concept of beauty contest is absolutely fine and they’re more than willing to embrace it.

While the party has always been great expert in power games, the post Deng generations outperformed their predecessors in terms of their flexibility and adapability. They know they cannot survive without economic development and cooperation with the west, and they know they must stop fighting for ideological values in order to concentrate on the battle for power. That may explain why the regime is still alive and well.

April 3, 2004 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

Thanks Hui — great post. I hope you saw my recent post on looking back in China. Very relevant to what you write about.

April 7, 2004 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

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