Gay Rights: Late Starter’s Advantage in China

The Economist’s in America blog finds encouragement in a CCTV news anchor’s response to homophobic microblog re-posts by actress Lü Liping:

“There is no doubt that the sexual orientation of certain people in our midst are different from the rest of us. But they are also diligently contributing to society. Gay people, like us, have the right to exist and develop themselves in society, and this right should not be overtaken by any other concept.”

A lot of the immense in China over the past three decades has been fueled by Late Starters’ Advantage, the ability of underdeveloped countries to achieve extremely rapid development just by implementing technologies and forms of organisation that have already been worked out in more advanced countries. It would be nice if, in some areas at least, the Late Starters’ Advantage also allowed societies to leapfrog quickly over decades of social struggle on other issues, such as gay rights. I think this actually does happen to a limited extent; autocratic societies that go democratic these days usually don’t have to pass through a long phase in which only men have the franchise. And here we have semi-official Shanghai opinion surprisingly close behind public opinion in Shanghai-on-the-Hudson.

For more details on the Lü Liping case, see Shanghaiist’s excellent coverage.


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