The English state-run paper China Daily recently published a commentary discussing shipping bromances by film critic Raymond Zhou. The essay uses the tale of musicians Wang Leehom and Li Yundi as an example of the social phenomenon of “bromance shippings” in China, which Zhou believes indicate a growing liberal attitude amongst the general public.
“What’s surprising is that the public mood has been more playful than serious, and that applies to even before Wang denied the amorous link. One does not detect a whiff of lament that such gifted artists are not “normal”, which I suspect would be the case if it had happened a decade ago. People, especially the young, are more tolerant of homosexuality as a lifestyle.”
Zhou doesn’t forget to add, though, that such acceptance is partly because Wang Leehom and Li Yundi are both extremely handsome, and that discrimination against homosexuals still exist in China.
Ultimately, Zhou makes the point that platonic bromances are an important part of Chinese culture and should be more widely accepted, and that relationships are a private matter and should not be subject to “shipping.” He concludes with ” Whatever way of life one prefers, as long as it does not infringe on others, we should learn to respect it. Live and let live, as they say.”
I was a bit surprised that the story was published, but probably not as surprised as the English commentators who has used the incident as another excuse to make fun of CCTV. I’m so happy to know that China’s PR department is not broken and publishes stories like this once in a while. Although, I personally have no issues with shipping real people as long as either you’re not affecting the real people involved or they’re okay with it.
English editions of Chinese newspapers tend to be more liberal in content, so this isn’t too much of a stretch. Did this editorial appear in the Chinese edition of the China Daily as well?
CCTV isn’t too far behind the times, either: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMFPwJu58tU
I think people are generally okay with Wang Yundi because it sits primarily in the realm of fantasy and rumour. But once confronted with “Wang Leehom being gay is an open secret in the Taipei gay community,” or other statements of that sort, fans become vehemently opposed to it. Then again, I can’t tell if that’s because it conflicts with every girl’s dream to someday marry Leehom, or if they’re actually against it…
But unlike in Judeo-Christian societies, the rebuke against homosexuality in Chinese culture isn’t so much against the act itself, but that same-sex relationships don’t inherently produce offspring. And in Confucian culture, where filial piety is the “first of a hundred virtues,” to not have children is the most unfilial act of a person. It’s basically the worst thing you could do (or not do, rather).
That being said, I’m wildly guessing that China will probably legalise gay marriage under Xi Jinping, and it probably won’t be too much of an issue except in its comparison with the status of same-sex marriages in the US.
” I’m wildly guessing that China will probably legalise gay marriage under Xi Jinping”
Interesting. The ripple effect of media attention will be hectic xD Unless they do it in like 10 years… still the way China is changing amazes me.
Didn’t Qiu leave CCTV because he wasn’t happy with not being able to speak his mind? I feel like he said a lot of fairly controversial stuff that weren’t exactly approved.
I feel like the people who ship them and people who are against gay rumors are different, though, it’s just that they’re more vocal at different times.
I remember watching a WSJ report on homosexuality in China, and the reporter was also talking about how most people don’t really care about other people’s sexuality, but the biggest problem for homosexuals in China is the expectancy by their family to get married and have kids.
Why do you think China will legalise gay marriage under Xi? My impression of his ideas on family is pretty traditional. Although I do agree that in general,the Chinese government does seem far more likely to legalise gay marriage than the U.S.
Allowing gay marriage in China, I suspect, will more likely stem from pragmatism and apathy than any staunch ideology. And it coming under Xi has more to do with the 10-year time frame than his specific leadership, because, even if he were so inclined, Xi doesn’t have the necessary political authority to force it through the Communist Party. But since the Politburo Standing Committee operates largely by consensus, I imagine the process will involve one or two moderates pushing for it, raising issues of equality and a convenient solution to an eventual 30 million more men than women (“They can marry each other!” someone cries enthusiastically), and everyone else going: “Eh, why not?”
However, this isn’t likely to happen until there’s enough public support (or at least public indifference) towards gay marriage. But I can see it happening over the next ten years, at least.
I saw this article today and the writer pretty much just repeated what you said.
oh, so that’s why wang lee hom was rumored to be gay.
it was bromance after all. wanna know who his girlfriend is kekeke
I’m pretty sure Leehom gay rumors far predate Leehom-Li Yundi shippping, but I don’t think it ever got this big.