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He caught a glimpse into a future he never knew existed — a future that was perhaps within his reach too. As Duan came of age, so did the Chinese internet. Today that number has swelled to more than million, and a vast majority of them are using mobile devices.

Whereas Duan once sought out gay communities in small groups and quiet bars, today, as a year-old working in publishing in Beijing, he can join gay meet-ups on WeChat; follow blogs and coming-out stories on Weibo , a Twitter-like platform; and, perhaps most crucial, he can connect and find partners on Blued, a gay social networking app.

There are other options — Grindr operates in China — but Blued is the most popular by far. China is home to an L. But according to a United Nations estimate , less than 5 percent of gay Chinese choose to come out. It is easily among the most popular gay dating apps in the world. Like WeChat, Blued aspires to be a Swiss Army knife for its users, absorbing features from other apps, like newsfeeds and livestreaming functions — as well as real-world resources like H. Blued is in a peculiar position: It might be the biggest app of its kind, yet it is also the most precarious. It is a tech company in a society that has been transformed by free-market reforms, but also a gay tech company operating under a one-party government with an ambiguous stance toward L.

On one hand, the rise of the Chinese internet, facilitated by the last three decades of market reforms, has allowed for unprecedented connection and visibility for gay communities in China. Popular Chinese shows with gay story lines were removed from screening sites. One gay-dating app, Zank, was shut down by the government, and a lesbian-dating app, Rela, disappeared shortly after. By staying within the commercial and public-health sectors and framing the fight for gay recognition in terms of business, the company, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Geng Le, has cultivated a minority community free of political activism.

The company has cultivated strategic relationships within the government and raised L. Blued and its related services operate under the aegis of Blue City, which is also the name of its two-story headquarters in central Beijing.

Chinese gay dating app BlueCity focused on Asia after IPO | Reuters

Employees have enjoyed classic start-up benefits like free lunch and company beach retreats, some with a queer twist, like a drag performance at the Lunar New Year; company swag has included plush toys of a unicorn with a rainbow horn. Danlan was the bare-bones, browser-based website that Geng created nearly two decades ago. In his darker moments, he would sit by the beach and look out into the waves to calm himself down.

He broke down in tears while reading it because he realized he was not alone. Like the sea — faraway, yet full of possibility — Danlan would be a sanctuary for gay men to express their hopes and fears. Historically, Chinese society has neither recognized nor shunned its queer communities. Chinese religious traditions like Buddhism and Confucianism do not overtly condemn homosexuality, which means that cultural attitudes are more malleable there than in other Asian countries like Indonesia or the Philippines.

Nor was homosexuality considered by authorities to be a decadent Western import; on the contrary, it is widespread and recognized in Chinese history and culture. Still, homosexuality was formally considered a mental illness until But in recent years, the government has neither expressed explicit support for the L. But longstanding Confucian traditions and values — an emphasis on having a respectable marriage, giving birth to sons, saving face and filial piety — remain deeply embedded in the fabric of Chinese society.

This dynamic also means that family is the place where rejection and discrimination occur most frequently, particularly among the older generation. The internet has facilitated these arrangements, with websites like ChinaGayLes. By , the number of internet users in China had grown a hundredfold since Geng founded Danlan. To meet rapidly growing demand, he recruited five other team members, running the website out of a rented apartment and working through the night. Eventually, he expanded to Beijing, keeping up this double life — shuttling between roles as straight Qinhuangdao cop, happily married and respected by his colleagues, and gay Beijing entrepreneur — until Geng agreed, assuming the video would have a relatively small audience.

Shortly after its release, Geng received a call from his police bureau, demanding he return to his post. His bosses gave him an ultimatum: Shut down the website or quit his job and leave. He handed in his resignation that day, along with the uniform that he had worn since he was He was disgraced — spurned by his colleagues, disapproved of by his parents — and his marriage dissolved. Chinese activists quoted in the article talk about being advised to remove tweets, and also about being interrogated, threatened, and physically restrained over their Twitter behavior.

But who Twitters these stories in what ways is strictly controlled. The number of followers for each account is recorded at the time of writing between July Accounts are listed going from most number of followers on top. This list is by no means complete. We might have overseen official accounts please let us know , and it has left out, for example, the many different accounts run by Confucius Institutes worldwide, and also does not list the state-owned enterprises that are active on Twitter.

Although caution is thus advised, we currently have no reason to assume that any of the accounts in this list do not belong to the person or organization they say they represent in their bio.


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Contributing to this is the fact that these accounts are also followed by other official accounts that have already been verified. In writing personal names, we stick to the way the person presents their name on Twitter. Mostly, they state their last name first, followed by the given name, but sometimes they use the Western style and turn it around.

This list is not necessarily focused on accounts tweeting in English. Many of the accounts tweet in traditional Chinese or other languages including Spanish, Japanese, German, or French both media and accounts of diplomatic missions. They all joined from April-Nov , three years after the founding of Twitter, and in the same year that the platform was blocked in mainland China. From that moment on, Chinese media accounts slowly start joining Twitter. Around the year , we see a small surge in Chinese media, government, and city accounts joining Twitter.

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We also found that this list of Twitter accounts does not mirror Weibo at all — many of the accounts in this list have no presence on Weibo and thus were solely created to speak to an overseas audience. The accounts in this list amplify each other by following each other and through retweeting. First version July 21, , updated by adding three more diplomats on July 22, Update August 7 As of August 6, , Twitter implemented government and state-affiliated media account labels on its platform.

The label appears on the profile page of the relevant Twitter account, as shown in the example below. Chinese Embassy in Pakistan CathayPak , Chinese Embassy in Brazil EmbaixadaChina , Chinese Mission to UN Chinamission2un , Chinese Embassy in France AmbassadeChine , Chinese Embassy in the Philippines Chinaembmanila , SONG C. Visit Xiamen VisitXiamen , Suzhou, China VisitSuzhou , Visit Beijing VisitBeijingcn , Shenyang ShenyangChina , Jiangsu, China GoJiangsu , Visit Shaanxi visitshaanxi , VisitJiangsu VisitJiangsu , Changsha ChangshaCity , Anhui China AnhuiChina , Visit Sichuan-China Amazingsichuan , FuzhouCity FuzhouCity , Rugao City RugaoCity , Visit Guangxi-China VisitGuangxi , Nanjing China GoToNanjing , Guizhou, China iloveguizhou , 14K followers Joined July Visit Weifang, China visitweifang , Visit Haikou visithaikou , followers Joined Oct Guangdong China iGuangdong , followers Joined Nov Visit Zhengzhou visitzhengzhou , followers Joined Feb Visit Kaifeng visitkaifeng , followers Joined September Visitluoyang VisitLuoyang , followers Joined March Zhejiang Tourism tourzj1 , 54 followers Joined March China Daily ChinaDaily , 4.

Global Times globaltimesnews , 1.

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CGTN Arabic cgtnarabic , CGTN America cgtnamerica , CGTN Africa cgtnafrica , Beijing Review BeijingReview , Renmin Ribao Online RenminDeutsch , China Culture Chinacultureorg , Xinhua Myanmar XHMyanmar , ChinaXinhuaPortugues XHportugues , China Daily Russia chinadailyrus , followers Joined April By Manya Koetse Follow whatsonweibo Do you find this kind of research insightful? Would you like to read more about trends in China and its online media? Your small donation makes a big impact.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. George Floyd and the global anti-racism movements have not just dominated headlines in the US and other western countries — in China, they have also become a major news topic. This is an overview of the general Chinese online media discussions of these global news developments, including all the big hashtags, from the George Floyd killing to global companies changing their policies amid concerns over racial stereotyping.

G eorge Floyd — it is a name that the entire world has come to know since the year-old black man was killed during an arrest in May of this year.

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The death of Floyd has sparked major Black Lives Matter protests around the world, inspiring international movements fighting against racism. The incident also led to unrest, riots, and the defacement of controversial statues in America and other countries. In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against systemic racism, many organizations and companies in western countries have also made various anti-racist statements and announced policy changes. Minneapolis graffiti mural honoring George Floyd, photo by Munshots, Unsplash.

In a year of COVID crisis and geopolitical tensions — including escalating China-US tensions and the passing of the national security law for Hong Kong -, many of the recent news stories do not stand alone. The way the news is reported and discussed in China by state media and web users is often part of larger narratives about China and its current relations within the international community.

Floyd was sitting in his car when officers arrived at the scene and was asked to step out of his vehicle. The video of the fatal arrest went viral on social media overnight, and soon led to people protesting in Minneapolis and elsewhere across the US, demanding justice over the fatal arrest. Tensions in Minnesota reached a boiling point and protests escalated to riots and lootings, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declaring a state of emergency on May On that same day, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, a reporter of color, was arrested and handcuffed on live television together with his cameraman and producer while reporting on the situation in Minneapolis.

Although the CNN crew was released shortly after, the incident also further intensified the debate on discrimination and racism in America.

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On Weibo, news of the George Floyd incident and the American protests soon went trending with various related hashtags. Many of the Weibo responses to the killing of George Floyd and its direct aftermath incorporated these developments into a bigger framework of strained US-China relations, pointing out the supposed American hypocrisy for criticizing China regarding freedom and human rights, especially in light of the COVIDcrisis and the Hong Kong situation.

Is this called freedom? Some Weibo users shared compilations showing American officers using excessive force and violence while beating and shooting down people during their work. But looking at it from another perspective, it still makes me envious because they have the guts to speak up, the courage to resist. If such a thing would happen in China, would you stand up?

As George Floyd protests have now ignited a wave of anti-racism efforts across the globe, there are also new hashtags popping up on Chinese social media that are generating a lot of discussion. Although the protesters denouncing racism and police brutality directly after the Floyd killing were often praised on Chinese social media, some of the latest efforts by companies and brands — showing wider consideration of racism in media, fashion, and entertainment — met less sympathy among Chinese web users.

In late June, producers of The Simpsons announced that they will no longer let white actors do the voices of characters of color. This is fake so-called anti-racism.


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For many Asians, they just happen to think fair skin is pretty. Darlie toothpaste is a household name for many Chinese image via Sina Weibo. The overall sentiment in response to this news is that many do not understand how changing the brand is helpful in the battle against social injustice. The latest anti-racism movement in western countries is clearly discussed in a very different way in the Chinese social media context than it is in the English-language social media sphere.

Another recurring sentiment is that anti-black racism is prioritized over racism against Asians. The different views among Chinese social media users on what is deemed racist or not has attracted wide attention before. The Chinese Qiaobi commercial drew much controversy for being racist in Similar responses also came up when the CCTV Gala caused consternation in foreign media for featuring a Chinese actress wearing blackface in a segment emphasizing Sino-African relations.

These attitudes and general comments seem to suggest that racism or discrimination is just less of an issue in China, or that it is soon trivialized. Is this the case? Issues of racism and discrimination are certainly not trivialized in China when it is about anti-Asian racism. Throughout modern history, the Chinese have been victims of racism. Over recent years, there are myriad examples of collective anger and boycott campaigns because Chinese feel discriminated against. After screenshots went viral of a China-bashing online conversation with the alleged Stefano Gabbana, the issue became one of the largest trending topics on Weibo in The COVID pandemic has also led to an increase in racism in the US and other countries directed at those of Asian descent, something that has recently become a hot topic on Chinese social media, triggering anger and calls for equal treatment of Asians.

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