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21 Jun 2016

Chinese woman sues Ministry of Education over textbooks

A Chinese court has reportedly accepted her case against the country's ministry of education.

The Beijing First Intermediate People's Court has accepted a lawsuit filed by a 21-year-old lesbian university student against the Ministry of Education over homophobic content in textbooks.

The woman, who goes by the pseudonym Qiu Bai, discovered textbooks listing homosexuality as a disorder at Guanghzhou's Sun Yat Sen University while looking for information on homosexuality in 2014, according to the BBC.

China removed homosexuality from the country's official list of mental disorders in 2001.

A 2014 survey conducted by China's Tong Cheng Gay and Lesbian Campus Association found that 40% of textbooks published after 2001 still classified homosexuality as a psychological disorder.

Qiu Bai originally sued the Ministry of Education in 2015 but was persuaded to drop the case to engage instead in a complaints process.

After her letters unanswered she pursued a second lawsuit in April 2016 which was rejected by the court on the grounds that the lack of response from the ministry did not infringe on her rights.

Her most recent bid to sue has been accepted by the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing as her lawyer argued "as a current university student, the plaintiff has a direct interest in the textbook materials".

"Textbooks should at least describe homosexuality with objectivity," Qiu Bai told Sixth Tone. "I don't want discrimination permeating the school I live in and the materials I use every day."

Reader's Comments

1. 2016-06-21 15:52  
But most don't see it as a mental disorder (60%).

People should be able to speak their mind. Right or wrong.
2. 2016-06-21 17:39    
We are not talking about people's opinion, Gtilad, we are talking about almost half of the books that should teach the truth, in school, not opinions.

Are you really ok with the fact that, in some part of the world, some kids in school, are taught that you are mentally ill the same way they learn 4+4 is 8?
3. 2016-06-21 21:51  
She is brave...
4. 2016-06-22 06:28  
#2 they are university text books she had issue with. Not primary education material.

If you think 40% is near 50% why didn't you say 4+4=10?

We need to know the percentage that are published today saying homosexuality is a mental disorder. Is it growing or diminishing? And to avoid on-going stigma regarding mental illness, let's not get worked up over the classification, right or wrong. To say there is no mental illness effect from being different from the norm is bonkers. Why else do many gays feel the need to flock (and the one that rhythms!) together?

Let these text books allow history to inform future scholars what was current today. Censorship is an extremely bad thing.
5. 2016-06-22 09:01  
#4 seems a prime example of the mental disorders induced by internalized homophobia.
6. 2016-06-22 14:18  
Please do expand on that #5. It'd be lazy of me to simply say that the same can be said of your own comment. Oh what silly 'nutcases' we are.


It's only wikipedia. Best to ignore it :).

The fact someone is gay is never a reason I dislike them, but boy do I dislike some people that happen to be gay.

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