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May 02 2013

Some positive developments in China

There are some interesting developments in China. Andrew Stokols says that China’s LGBT community has made great strides in recent decades.

China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, even before the U.S. removed all anti-sodomy laws in certain states. But today, there are no formal laws to prevent discrimination against LGBT Chinese, especially in the workplace. Since China’s ministry removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 2001, government policy and public opinion has also gradually shifted. Public health ministries have been targeting gay bars with public awareness campaigns advocating safe-sex and HIV-testing. But generally, LGBT Chinese now fall into an uncomfortably grey area: no longer directly harassed, but also ignored.

There are suggestions that that country’s leadership may move towards legalization of same-sex marriage, though that is still a dim hope for the near future. But if the world’s largest country containing about one-sixth of the population does so, that would be a huge step forward.

The Chinese leadership is also moving to discourage religion and superstition and promote scientific ways of thinking. Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, is worried about the increase in religious beliefs in the country following its recent liberalization which he attributes to “a desire for reassurance in an increasingly complex world”.

“For a ruling party which follows Marxism, we need to help people establish a correct world view and to scientifically deal with birth, ageing, sickness and death, as well as fortune and misfortune, via popularizing scientific knowledge”

He warns that combating religion is something that must be done gradually.

“Religion has been around for a very long time, and if we rush to try to push for results and want to immediately ‘liberate’ people from the influence of religion, then it will have the opposite effect and push people in the opposite direction.”

It is interesting that they see religion as providing soothing but false explanations to help people deal with the issues of life, although they believe that scientific thinking would be even better.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    It is interesting that they see religion as providing soothing but false explanations to help people deal with the issues of life, although they believe that scientific thinking would be even better.

    Wow, it’s almost as if religion were the opiate of the people or something.

  2. 2
    Tabby Lavalamp

    For a ruling party which follows Marxism…

    Who would have thought it. The Chinese government apparently has no more of an idea of what Marxism is than the American right wing. Apparently it’s become a word that can mean whatever you want it to.

  3. 3
    Argle Bargle

    I agree with Tabby Lavalamp. The present-day Chinese Marxism is nothing which Karl would recognize. Groucho wouldn’t acknowledge it either.

  4. 4
    Chiroptera

    Heh. In the same vein, one can also ask the question whether Marx would have recognized the Chinese Marxism of the 1950s and 1960s. (Or even Soviet Bolshevism, for that matter.) The answer to that question isn’t obviously “yes” when one considers that Leninism was just one strand among many different schools of thought within Marxism, and Leninism became the “canonical” version mainly because that was the one that happened to be the first to take control and maintain control over a state.

  5. 5
    Tyrant

    Thay’s great! Go Science! So when is TCM officially given the boot then?

  6. 6
    Jared A

    I’m not so optimistic about the “discouraging religion” aspect, since the actions behind the words look a lot more like persecution and oppression. China’s propaganda and oppression machine makes the US system look like the little leagues.

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