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China IDAHO Report 2013

Activists from around the country, and internationally, joined forces for actions in different cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Changsha. A Queer Comrades event in Beijing took aim at Transphobia, and they launched a new documentary film “Brothers” – a pioneering portrayal of FtM trans communities in contemporary China. Mobilisations were also met with significant repression as activists in two cities were detained by police in response to peaceful demonstrations.

Beijing: Queer Comrades Fight Transphobia

A member of the group Queer Comrades summarised the Beijing actions in a Huffington Post mini blog:

The theme of our 2013 Beijing IDAHO event is “LGBT – Increasing Transgender Visibility in China.” Chinese society is currently still largely unaware of the plight of transgendered people in China, who face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. With the event, we focus on bringing attention to transgender communities in China and increasing public understanding of transgender issues. We specifically reach out to representatives of the media, educational professionals and psychological counselors, as they fulfill important first-line roles in the spreading of information and the providing of help regarding transgender issues.

At the event, we’ll premiere our Queer Comrades documentary “Brothers,” one of the first Chinese documentaries to focus on Female-to-Male Transgender communities. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion including Yaoyao (director of the documentary), Tony (transgender man, documentary main character), Joanne Leung (founder Transgender Resource Center Hong Kong), Zhen Hongli (psychologist Global Care Women & Children’s Hospital Beijing), and Guo Yanan (Aibai Transgender Program Assistant). This will be followed by an informal networking event where everybody is encouraged to get to know the Beijing LGBT organizations and their work on transgender issues.

The event is co-organized by The Netherlands Embassy in Beijing, Queer Comrades, the Aibai Culture & Education Center, the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute and Common Language.

The Trailer for “Brothers” can be Viewed Here (English subtitles):

The full documentary (English subtitles) can be viewed, exclusively and free of charge, on the Queer Comrades site:跨性别/


In China’s third largest city, Guangzhou, two dozen participants gathered to hand out leaflets with information about the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia on Friday May 17.


In Chengdu, reports Amy Li on the South China Morning Post site: ‘In the southwestern city Chengdu, volunteers from “Les Chengdu” and “Tongle Chengdu”, two prominent local LGBT groups, awed residents of the Sichuan capital by turning themselves into a “flash mob” at a downtown plaza. Taking the street by surprise, they danced to Kelly Clarkson’s popular song Stronger.’


Chengdu activists turn themselves into a flashmob. Photo: Liang Siyu. Source


In the city of Changsha, capital city of Hunan province, in the south-centre of the country, 100 participants attended a pride parade event on Friday, May 17.


A “pride parade” in Changsha on Friday. Photo: A Qiang. Source

Police Intervene in Protest Actions

In Guangzhou, reports Amy Li on the South China Morning Post site: ‘Yang Dai, an activist in Guangzhou, said about two dozen volunteers were passing out hand-made pamphlets about IDAHOBIT in front of a busy mall in downtown Guangzhou around 3pm when police officers approached them. Activists were taken away for questioning and released about an hour later, said Yang. She said that while police didn’t criticise the event, they seemed concerned about the method used to promote it – delivering fliers.’


Guangzhou activists were brought in by police for questioning. Photo: screenshot via Weibo. Source.

Meanwhile, in the city of Changsha, plans proceeded in colour, and without incident, until local police arrived at a hotel where activists were staying on Saturday morning and arrested four participants, according to A Qiang, a Guangzhou-based activist and organiser of the Changsha parade.

19 Year Old Activist, Xiang Yuhan, Held in Custody for 12 Days

By Saturday afternoon, three had been released but one – 19-year-old Xiang Yuhan – was still being held. Shortly afterwards, his lawyer, Lin Qilei, released a statement “He’s been put under administrative detention for 12 days on charges of organizing an illegal rally. His mother is mentally ill and he looks after her. We’ve asked authorities to cut short his detention”. Lin advised that Xiang was being held in Changsha Detention Center. In China, people can be held without trial for at least one month.

Reports Voice of America, ‘Fellow gay rights activist Ah Qiang, who also attended the rally, said he believes Xiang Yuhan was singled out because he is a prominent advocate for LGBT rights in the south of China. Three other people were taken away by police at the same time and were freed a few hours later after questioning. “He [Xiang Yuhan] was the organizer of the rally, he runs a community website for homosexuals and helped launch a similar event last year. He is very active and wants to keep hosting the event in the future,” said Ah Qiang.’

The IDAHO Committee received confirmation Thursday May 30, that Xiang Yuhan was released from prison this morning Thursday, after 12 days detention. Friends advise that he is fine and undeterred from his involvement in activism.

Activists from the group Queer Comrades put together this mini-documentary (English subtitles) about the Changsha actions, police arrests and the case of Xiang Yuhan: