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Tim Culpan

China’s Crackdown Has a Straight Eye for the Queer Guy

Xi’s new China means conformity at all costs. That means the space for minorities and misfits of any type is closing fast in a society where the image of a model citizen is becoming more tightly defined.

Participants at the ShanghaiPRIDE.

Participants at the ShanghaiPRIDE.

Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

China officially has a “male feminization” problem. That’s not some throwaway line or social media meme. It’s actual policy from the nation’s education ministry, which plans to strengthen physical education for the nation’s adolescent boys to combat the phenomenon.

Beijing’s rewriting of social norms doesn’t end there, and will continue for years as President Xi Jinping leads a neo-Cultural Revolution that has already hit the education, technology and gaming sectors and is destined to spread further. His “common prosperity” doctrine — aimed at evening out the country’s wealth gap — is likely to reverse decades of social progress and spell disaster for minority groups that fail to conform.