A pair of female students in Hubei province have stirred up anger online and on campus after a photo of them holding up a homophobic banner went viral on Chinese social media.
“Protect traditional Chinese morals,” said a banner carried on campus by members of the women’s basketball team. “Defend core socialist values. Resist corrosion from decadent Western thoughts. Keep homosexuality far from campus.”
The photo was taken on April 16th on the sidelines of a basketball tournament at Wuhan's Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST).
The photo was first uploaded by Ling Bing, basketball coach of the students pictured. His post, which received at least 650 “likes,” was captioned with “It’s the wish of the public, which I always bear in my heart.”
One of the girls in the picture voiced her opinion, “The women’s basketball team used to be disaster area for homosexuality. But after our positive education and reform, there are very few gay people left on the women’s basketball team.”
HUST had boasted a reputation of tolerance and inclusion of LGBT students and staff.
In 2012, HUST’s then-principal stated that the university would not discriminate against LGBT students.
Last year, the university posted photos on social media of students holding a rainbow flag during their graduation ceremony and there have been a number of LGBT events on campus.