Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 30: LGBTQ rights in China: movement-building in uncertain times

Joy L. Chia


The battle for LGBTQ rights is at the frontier of human rights activism in China today because LGBTQ individuals and communities live (and thrive) at the margins of China’s legal and policy frameworks. The increasing visibility of individuals who identify as LGBTQ, tongzhi or queer/kuer in urban Chinese society, is contrasted with the laws, policies, and social norms that render them invisible. This chapter addresses this juxtaposition through an examination of how LGBTQ activists have sought to build communities, change cultural narratives about LGBTQ experiences, advocate for legal and policy reform, and engage with human rights issues domestically and internationally. In countering entrenched invisibility in multiple arenas—within families, local communities, at work places and within government systems—LGBTQ activists have been forced by necessity to innovate, navigating legal grey areas to find multiple entry-points for advocacy and engagement on LGBTQ rights.

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