Chinese university asks colleges to compile list of LGTBQ+ students, stokes fears of ‘crackdown’
An internal communique issued by China’s Shanghai University has raised eyebrows of many after it ordered its colleges to report students who identify as LGBTQ+ or “non-heterosexual”.
The internal directive, published online on both Chinese and foreign social media platforms, contains a questionnaire purportedly asking the colleges to “investigate and research” students who identified themselves to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, The Guardian reported.
It is also claimed to have requested information on the students’ “state of mind and psychological condition, including political stance, social contacts, and mental health status”.
The matter came to light when a Weibo user posted it on the social media platform on August 26, calling the practice “horrendous”.
“It looks like Shanghai University isn’t the only university to ask for ‘reports’ on LGBT students and keep track of them,” the user wrote. “Whether the school’s intention was good or not, this is horrendous.”
The screenshot of the questionnaire was also shared on Twitter, generating a heated discussion about China’s ongoing ‘crackdowns’ on the country’s sexual minorities.
“Shanghai University is ordering its colleges to report whether they have any students who identify as #LGBT, according to a university notice that cites “relevant requirements. It’s confirmed by a student and a staff member of the uni. The purpose of such order is unknown,” a reporter based in China tweeted.
The latest incident comes days after it was reported that Chinese social media giant WeChat was allegedly removing dozens of LGBTQ+ accounts, fuelling fears that the move was part of a wider crackdown.
Several LGBTQ+ groups told Reuters in July that their WeChat accounts had been locked, while others had their content deleted from the platform.
The accounts were a mix of registered student clubs and unofficial grassroots groups, and some had operated for years as safe spaces for China’s LGBTQ+ youth, with tens of thousands of followers. The move sparked outrage among some university students and activists.
Even though China has decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, the country still does not recognise same-sex marriage.