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.