Earlier this month China’s state-controlled newspaper People’s Daily posted a tweet in English in support of China’s LGBTQ community, using the hashtag #PrideMonth2020.
The tweet, which was posted under the People’s Daily’s official Twitter account and has since been deleted (archived here), reads:
“#LGBTQ quietly gains acceptance in China’s big cities as rainbow flags are out on display outside in central Beijing and other cities in recent weeks marking the International Day Against Homophobia. #PrideMonth2020.”
Some journalists retweeted the post (also here), saying such content would never be allowed in mainland China. Homosexuality is legal in China but it is a socio-culturally sensitive topic and references to same-sex couples are often censored.
But this time a screen capture of the tweet was posted on one of China’s most popular social media platforms Weibo.
The Weibo account Idol_Time that posted the image (also archived here) has about 176,000 followers. Within two days, the post amassed more than 26,000 shares, 1,844 comments, and close to 70,000 likes.
The post seems to have received mixed reactions. Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported that some people criticized the post saying such a tweet in English was propaganda intended to project good images of China to the outside world. Twitter is banned in China.
At the time of publication, the Weibo screen capture of the original tweet remained accessible but its commenting function was disabled.
As reported by Sup China, People’s Daily published a pro-LGBTQ article in August 2018 quoting a children’s textbook that says “everyone should respect other people’s sexual orientation, it is not a mental illness.”
China stopped classifying homosexuality as a “psychopathic disorder” in 2001, but discrimination against LGBTQ populations is an ongoing social issue.
In May 2019 People’s Daily reacted to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan on Twitter saying China was the first in Asia to do so, including a GIF with the slogan “Love is Love” (the tweet is also archived here). China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province.