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Chinese city opens gay bar to tackle HIV

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  1. Good for them! If only more countries with high HIV levels would take this kind of attitude instead of trying to force homosexuality underground. I suppose it helps that China isn’t particularly religious.

    The newspaper reported that it had received some letters from readers complaining that the state-funded bar was a waste of money and would “promote” homosexuality.

    sounds like the Daily Mail to me.

  2. 30 Nov 2009, 9:35pm

    It does indeed sound like the Daily Mail. In fact sociologists in China have started thinking aloud about the consequences of the predominance of males (because under the one-child rule female babies were often aborted). And the Chinese government are known to have started listening, and imagining the implications. This news is tangible proof. It’s not often one has to give the Chinese authorities, and social planners, credit for “blue-sky thinking”.

  3. “Each year, the Dali city government spends 20,000 yuan on treatment drugs for AIDS.”

    This amounts roughly for about 2,000 euros. Whereas my country spends 12,000 euros per year per ONE infected person.

    Am I missing something here?

  4. @ Lucius: Depends on things like the exchange rate, the city’s wealth etc doesn’t it?

  5. George, thanks! I knew it was something glaringly obvious.

  6. 1 Dec 2009, 2:14pm

    Well, according to google, 20,000 yuan = 1,772 GBP (though I don’t know the relative purchasing power). This doesn’t seem like an awfully high spend on AIDS treatment. Six times that (the cost of the gay bar) could be money well spent.

  7. To be fair, the low spending per HIV positive person could be down to the fact that (I believe) China doesn’t buy the brand named drugs, they make copies of it which are much cheaper. Basically, they’re not being ripped off by the drug companies.

  8. Michael Anthony 1 Dec 2009, 3:38pm

    According to media reports today, the opening of the bar has been delayed. The owner of the gay bar said the delay was due to “pressure”. In reading the article, it sounds like the “pressure” was coming from the government and public.

  9. Hey Guys,

    I’m a gay Brit living in china on and off now for over 8 years.

    While I wish I could see this news as a positive thing. I’m seeing it as nothing more than a PR propaganda stunt.

    This “bar” is in a rural area and I don’t think it’s going to be that effective. The people in these areas are still referred to as “peasants” by the rest of China, with limited education and limited acknowledgement to homosexuality and HIV. My gay Chinese colleague actually thinks this might be more of a local government ploy to keep taps on homosexuals in the area as they are probably viewed as being partly responsible for the spread of HIV and AIDS, whilst at the same time appearing “friendly” to the public.

    Also, in regards to the RMB20,000 spending on it, it might not seem much by western standards, but that’s more than a year’s salary for the vast majority of people in the. And in comparison the average office workers salary in a big city like Shanghai is only RMB36,000 a year (roughly GBP 3,300 a year, compared to average uni starting salary of GBP 16,000 a year).

    On a more positive note, LGBT quality of life in China is not as bad as it would seem. Most Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities have active gay communities and I actually feel safer being gay here then I do in the UK. Despite having no ‘legal rights’, China being not a religious country has a very enlightened approach to LGBT people (well the central government at least)…”No Official Support, but no Discrimination”. It’s a whole live and let live philosophy, and the government it swift to act if anybody falls out of line on either side.

    While that does mean people will be shushed and even arrested for hosting a gay pride march and yelling out “We’re Here, We’re Queer!” It also means any public discrimination against us gets the same punishment.

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