July 5, 2011
Chinese actress under fire for homophobic comments
An award-winning Chinese actress has been criticised by state broadcaster CCTV and banned from a high-profile awards show after she shared a homophobic message on a micro-blogging site.
Lü Liping’s Twitter feed attracted over 10,000 comments after she passed on a message originally written by Pastor Feng Wei of the Victory Baptist Chinese Mission of Rochester, New York.
“Last night, the New York State Senate legalised same-sex marriage,” read the status. “This is the sixth state in the US, and the largest one so far, to do so. May God have mercy on this land which is falling into depravity every day! Even if some day, the law makes it illegal for me to speak against homosexuality, I will continue to preach: Homosexuality is sin. God loves sinners, but he hates sin! Believe in Jesus, gain victory over your sin, and move from Death to Life.”
Lü, a born-again evangelical Christian, announced “Retweet this, brothers and sisters!” to her 125,000 followers on Sina Weibo. Her comments led to calls for a boycott from LGBT activists in China and a ban from the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.
“Homosexuality is not against any law in China,” said Ah Qiang of PFLAG China. “As a public personality, Lü Liping should not be passing such irresponsible comments. Her comments will only add to the discrimination faced by the LGBT community and exacerbate what is already a tough environment for sexual minorities in China.”
Lü’s comments also attracted criticism from Qiu Qiming, a presenter on the China Central Television (CCTV) news channel. “We respect the faith of individual celebrities, and we allow them to have their own point of view on issues,” he said. “But, that does not mean that we agree that a person of such influence should have the power to openly discriminate against certain communities in China.”
”There is no doubt that the sexual orientation of certain people in our midst are different from the rest of us. But they are also diligently contributing to society. Gay people, like us, have the right to exist and develop themselves in society, and this right should not be overtaken by any other concept.“
CCTV is an official outlet of the Chinese government and is held to account by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China. However, Qiu’s remarks might say more about the government’s attitude towards evangelical Christianity than LGBT rights.
“The state-owned broadcaster’s slapping down of Lü Liping for crossing the line may be indicative of the government’s wariness of the potential rise of political Christianity in China and the import of cultural clashes from the west,” suggested Kenneth Tan of Shanghaiist.
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