Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China

2008 | Activism / Arts & Literature / Censorship / Coming Out / Documentary / Homophobia / Human Rights / Lesbian / Media Studies / Race and Culture / Sexuality / Social Issues / Suicide / Transgender | 60m | China
Directors: Cui Zi'en

China's most prolific queer filmmaker presents a comprehensive historical account of the queer movement in modern China in this 2008 comprehensive documentary.

Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China documents the changes and developments in LGBTQ culture that have taken place in China over the last 80 years. Unlike any before, this film explores the historical milestones and ongoing advocacy efforts of the Chinese LGBTQ community. The film examines how shifting attitudes in law, media, and education have transformed queer culture from being an unspeakable taboo to an accepted social identity. The film culminates with the submission of Dr. Li Yinhe’s Same-sex Marriage Bill to the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress in 2003, a major landmark event in the ongoing struggle for acceptance of queer identity in China.

Directed by Cui Zi’en, China's leading queer theorist, activist and scholar, the documentary includes rarely seen footage of the first ever appearance of LGBTQ people on State television, including Cui Zi’en himself. The film features exclusive interviews with over three dozen leading queer activists, scholars, and filmmakers, including Shi Tou, Li Yinhe and Zhang Yuan. The opening night film of 2009’s ShanghaiPRIDE, China's first ever LGBTQ pride festival, Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China is nothing less than the most authoritative account of queer cultural history in China to date.

Reviews and Awards

“Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China includes frank interviews with more than three dozen scholars, activists, filmmakers, and writers, combined with rarely seen footage of the first-ever appearance of gays and lesbians on state television … This is a genuinely fascinating look at a continually evolving segment of Chinese society. Recommended for colleges, universities, and public libraries. —Video Librarian,

Best Documentary, Turino GLBT Film Festival

Best Documentary, Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Opening Night Film, Shanghai PRIDE

Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival

Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival

Official Selection, Beijing Queer Film Festival