Chine : étudiants et professeurs montent au créneau pour les droits des LGBT

Chine : étudiants et professeurs montent au créneau pour les droits des LGBT

>> China gay rights activists demand equality on university campuses : Group Urges Action Against Sexual Harassment

Traditionnellement jour de réjouissances en Chine, la Journée nationale des professeurs est marquée cette année par l’envoi de deux courriers d’associations de défense des personnes homosexuelles demandant des actions urgentes pour les droits LGBT et contre le harcèlement.

Pouvoir ouvrir des clubs gays et lesbiens, être mieux protégés contre le harcèlement et corriger les manuels scolaires discriminants à l’égard des LGBT, ce sont les revendications exprimées par la lettre envoyée par trois associations de défense des personnes homosexuelles à 112 universités chinoises.

«Nous lançons un appel et nous encourageons les directeurs de plusieurs universités à jouer un rôle positif dans l’éducation à l’égalité des sexes, à répondre aux demandes des étudiants appartenant aux minorités sexuelles», dit cette lettre. China Same Sex Love (CSSL), LGBT Rights Advocacy et Justice for All demandent aussi à pouvoir ouvrir des clubs dans les universités pour les membres de la communauté gay et lesbienne.

Les associations pointent aussi du doigt les règlements intérieurs des universités et certains manuels scolaires. Selon une étude de la Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China (GLCAC), 40% des livres publiés après 2001 continuent de qualifier l’homosexualité de maladie mentale malgré son retrait de la liste à cette date. En 2012, un sondage auprès de 421 professeurs et élèves à Pékin et Guangzhou avait révélé que les trois quarts d’entre eux étaient malmenés en raison de leur orientation sexuelle. Xiang Xiaohan, le fondateur de CSSL à l’origine de cette lettre, a indiqué qu‘une enquête serait menée sur le contenu des règlements des universités s’il n’avait aucun retour au sujet des revendications énoncées.

Professeurs et étudiants demandent une action urgente contre le harcèlement à l’université

Dans un même temps, 256 professeurs et étudiants ont signé une lettre ouverte au ministre de l’Éducation chinois et au président de l’université de Xianmen, publiée mardi à la veille de la Journée nationale des Professeurs. Ils demandent une action urgente pour prévenir le harcèlement sexuel sur les campus universitaires, qui n’ont toujours pas de mécanismes appropriés pour lutter contre ce phénomène. C’est le cas d’un professeur d’Histoire qui harcelait des étudiantes qui a motivé l’envoi de ce courrier: après trois mois d’investigation, l’université n’avait toujours pas rendu ses conclusions.

Par Diane de Fortanier

>> Chinese grass-roots activists have sent a barrage of letters to 112 key universities to demand equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) people on campus, in time for nationwide Teachers’ Day celebrations.

The activists from three mainland groups have asked the universities in an open letter to correct teaching materials that might prompt discrimination against LGBTs, and to offer gender diversity courses.

Jointly issued by Changsha-based China Same Sex Love (CSSL), Beijing-based LGBT Rights Advocacy China and Nanjing-based anti-discrimination group Justice for All, the letter also demanded that the universities allow gay students to establish clubs and communities.

“We appeal and encourage principals at various universities to play a positive role in gender equality education, to face up [to] the basic demands of sexual-minority students including gays, bisexuals and transgenders,” they stated in the letters, which were sent by registered post.

They also included an appeal for stronger protection against bullying. The target universities included the prestigious Peking University and others.

“When gay students are facing bullies, please guarantee their rights and offer them psychological support. When the university’s regulations violate the rights of gay students, please be brave [and] make changes,” the letter said.

The Guangzhou-based Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China said in its latest report in August that, after reviewing 90 mainland textbooks – mostly about psychology and published after 2001 – less than half included contents on homosexuality, of which more than 40 per cent clearly defined homosexuality as an illness.

“We always believe that as a place with relatively open culture and thinking, a university is [meant] to cultivate hope and [the] future of the country, and it should accept different voices and groups,” the activists said in the letter.

In an earlier survey conducted by Aibai Culture and Education Centre in May 2012, more than three-fourths of 421 students from junior and senior middle schools, universities and vocational colleges in Beijing and Guangzhou said they had faced bullying at school, including verbal abuses and physical attacks because of their sexual orientation.

Xiang Xiaohan, the founder of CSSL, said that they hoped the principals would listen to their demands and give feedback.

“If they fail to contact us through e-mail or telephone calls, we would seek information disclosures [from] these universities, to see [if there is] any discrimination in university regulations,” Xiang told the South China Morning Post.

In another Teacher’s Day action, 256 academics, university instructors and students from Xiamen University in Fujian province sent an open letter on Tuesday to Yuan Guiren, China’s education minister, demanding nationwide anti-sexual-harassment regulations.

This was prompted by a sex scandal at the school in which a history professor was accused of seducing and raping his students in June, according to the Legal Daily.

In a separate letter, they also asked Xiamen University head Zhu Chongshi to establish a prevention system for sexual harassment at campus, the Daily said.

>> On the annual occasion in China for recognizing teachers’ contributions to society, a group of professors and students have called on Chinese education officials and university administrators to take more vigorous action against sexual harassment on university campuses.

On Tuesday, the day before Teachers’ Day, the 256 professors and students signed open letters addressed to China’s Ministry of Education as well as to Zhu Chongshi, the president of Xiamen University.

In the letter addressed to Mr. Zhu, the group called on him to make public the findings of an investigation into a sexual harassment case that came to light in June involving a history professor who was accused of luring female students into having sex with him. After the allegations surfaced, the university suspended the professor, Wu Chunming, and announced that it had set up a special team to investigate the case.

But after three months, the university has yet to announce the results of that investigation.

“We hope that Xiamen University will deliver a just and fair conclusion for the involved parties and the public,” says the letter, which was made available to The New York Times. “But we also learned that before the media got involved in the Wu Chunming case, a number of people had already filed complaints about Wu, but the complaints were not taken seriously or properly investigated.”

“The reason,” continues the letter, which includes some signatures from Chinese studying or working abroad, “is because the colleges and universities in mainland China do not have established anti-sexual harassment mechanisms.”

Included in the letter to the Education Ministry was a proposed set of guidelines for establishing nationwide regulations to prevent and respond to sexual harassment on university campuses.

While the focus of the letters is on the Wu Chunming case, organizers say they see the case as an opportunity to effect change nationwide.

“The main thing is that we don’t think this is an individual case,” said Luo Ruixue of the Women Awakening Network, a Guangzhou-based women’s rights group that helped organize the letter to the ministry and Xiamen University. “What we really need is a system in place at universities to deal with these kinds of situations.”

“We hope that Xiamen University can set an example by creating this kind of a system,” Ms. Luo said in a telephone interview.

One of the signatories to the letter was a woman who recently completed a master’s degree at Xiamen University.

On Wednesday morning, the woman, who uses the pseudonym Xiao Wu to protect her privacy, took part in another, separately organized activity, intended to raise awareness about sexual harassment on campus. In photos circulated on Sina Weibo, Xiao Wu and nine other female students can be seen standing at the entrance of their respective universities, dressed in identical Little Red Riding Hood costumes and carrying swords and shields inscribed with the characters: “Give female students back our freedom and our nights.”

“The traditional understanding is that Little Red Riding Hood was eaten by the Big Bad Wolf because she was not careful, so the moral of the story is often said to be to stay at home and not go anywhere,” said Xiao Wu by telephone from Xiamen. “Every time something happens or a sexual harassment case comes up, there are always voices that come out and say that the female students involved were not careful enough, were not aware enough of their safety.”

“By choosing Little Red Riding Hood and by holding those shields and swords, we are trying to make a statement to say that we aren’t going to be those people who only stay at home and don’t go anywhere.”

In addition to the photos, which were taken at 10 different universities, including Xiamen University, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Fudan University in Shanghai, the Little Red Riding Hood organizers also sent letters to the presidents of 116 of China’s top universities, calling for them to establish systems to prevent sexual harassment.

“The school should be a safe environment,” Xiao Wu said. “Why can men go out but women can’t go out? I think this is very unfair. So we want to hit back against the Big Bad Wolf.”