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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
China launches first gay TV show
Internet in China (file photo)
Many gay people in China rely on the internet
A Chinese TV channel has launched what it says is the first ever programme to focus on gay issues in China.

The programme is being broadcast over the internet and will feature gay presenters discussing issues related to the homosexual community.

The makers hope it will increase tolerance in a society where homosexuality is still a taboo subject.

For much of the Communist Party's time in power, homosexuals were persecuted - often jailed, or even executed.

Until 2001, the Chinese authorities still classed homosexuality as a mental illness.

No denial

The weekly 12-episode show has been produced by Hong Kong-listed broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television.

It will be accessible to millions of people through the broadcaster's internet site and other portals, said the show's producer, Gang Gang.

It will be a forum for gay people "to get in touch with each other and communicate", Gang told Reuters news agency.

We hope that after this show airs, homosexuality will no longer be an issue, that society will be more enlightened about it, more understanding and more tolerant
Gang Gang
Programme producer

"In a lot of major Chinese cities, gay people are playing sports, swimming, working out, singing karaoke - they are getting together in all types of activities," he said.

The show is a sign that attitudes to gay rights are slowly changing, says the BBC's Dan Griffiths in Beijing.

Things have moved on, but many gays still have a difficult struggle in the face of traditional ideas about the family, especially those living in more conservative rural areas, our correspondent says.

The programme producer said homosexuals in China had been under pressure - mainly from "a lack of understanding".

"We hope that after this show airs, homosexuality will no longer be an issue, that society will be more enlightened about it, more understanding and more tolerant," Gang Gang said.


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