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Cyberspace and gay rights in a digital China: queer documentary filmmaking under state censorship

Shaw, Gareth; Zhang, Xiaoling

Authors

Gareth Shaw

Xiaoling Zhang



Abstract

Owing to China’s austere censorship regulations on film media, directors of films and documentaries engaging with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender themes have struggled to bring their work to domestic attention. Working outside of the state-funded Chinese film industry has become necessary for these directors to commit their narratives to film, but without approval of China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, these artists have had little chance of achieving widespread domestic distribution of their work. However, advancements in new media technology and Web 2.0, ranging from digital video formats to Internet-based distribution via social media networks and video-hosting platforms, provide opportunities for Chinese audiences to access films and documentaries dealing with LGBT themes. This empirical study assesses how production, promotion and consumption of queer documentary films are influenced by the development of social media within Chinese cyberspace. Through close readings of microblogs from Sina Weibo this study combines analysis of contemporary research with digital social rights activism to illustrate contemporary discourse regarding film-based LGBT representation in China. Finally, the study comments on the role that documentary filmmaking plays in China’s gay rights movement, and discusses the rewards (and challenges) associated with increased levels of visibility within society.

Citation

Shaw, G., & Zhang, X. (in press). Cyberspace and gay rights in a digital China: queer documentary filmmaking under state censorship. China Information, https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203X17734134

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 30, 2017
Deposit Date May 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2018
Journal China Information
Print ISSN 0920-203X
Electronic ISSN 1741-590X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0920203X17734134
Keywords cyberspace, LGBTQ, gay rights movement, film, documentary, censorship, microblog
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/42646
Publisher URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0920203X17734134
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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