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China’s LGBT movement discussed in Manchester

Twelve vocal supporters of gay rights in China visit the UK
Li Yinhe, campaigner for same-sex marriage in China, speaking at an International Conference on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal

Twelve of the most significant movers and shakers in China's gay rights movement are in Manchester, UK today for a conference entitled Europe-China LGBT Exchange.

Among the Chinese speakers at the conference are Professor Li Yinhe, an academic who has lobbied the Chinese government since 2001 to legalise same-sex marriage, and Beijing Film Academy's Cui Zien, filmmaker, novelist and gay rights activist.

Also speaking at the University of Manchester's two-day conference, the first of its kind in the UK, will be film directors Fan Popo and Xiaogang, the organisers of a recent training course for young LGBT people in Beijing.

Representing China’s lesbian community will be Xian, director of support group Common Language and Shitou, star of the film Fish and Elephant.

As well as four other Chinese artists, NGO founders and university professors, western academics who specialise in LGBT China will also speak at the conference.

‘This event is about dispelling prejudices about LGBT life in China,’ said organiser of the event Dr William Schroeder from the University of Manchester's Centre for Chinese Studies. ‘It might be surprising to some that activists like these 12 people operate openly and rather effectively there. In fact LGBT communities thrive in many parts of the country, especially urban centres, but also rural areas too.’

The conference (22-24 March) is open to the public and registration is available here

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