New edition of Chinese dictionary excludes 'gay'

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New edition of Chinese dictionary excludes 'gay'

Woman China Woman China
I thought some of you would like to see one of the current issues going on in China. I cannot wait to see what my students have to say about it.

So what do you all think about it?

The remainder of this post is copied from the following link...

New edition of Chinese dictionary excludes 'gay'

Gay activists are up in arms over the decision by editors of the sixth edition of the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary to exclude a definition for the term tongzhi (??) which refers to gay people.

While the term tongzhi, which literally means "people of the same purpose", has been used to refer to "comrades" within the Chinese Communist Party (and also within the Kuomintang) since the beginning of the republican era, it is more widely used to refer to gay people in colloquially today.

"We knew about the usage but we can't include it," explained one of the compilers of the dictionary in a Chinese television interview according to the BBC.

"You can use the word whichever way you like, but we won't put it into a standard dictionary because we don't want to promote these things. We don't want to draw attention to these things."

Via BBC:
For Ding Xueliang, a social sciences professor from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, this attitude is not surprising.

"The use of 'tongzhi' to describe homosexuality started in Hong Kong and Taiwan to make fun of the mainland's communist terminology because Chinese leaders address each other using 'tongzhi' meaning 'comrade' - for instance, 'Hu Jintao tongzhi' or 'Wen Jiabao tongzhi'," he told BBC Chinese.

"So it's quite normal that the Chinese government doesn't want to take this new meaning into the dictionary."

Some gay rights campaigners are up in arms.

One of them, whose name was given as "Nan Feng", told China's official news agency Xinhua it was unacceptable that the "gay" meaning of "tongzhi" was excluded from the dictionary just because of the compilers' own preferences and values.

"Tongzhi is the most commonly used, non-offensive term used by our circle to refer to homosexuals," Nan Feng was quoted as saying.

"We hope the compilers can view the word from an impartial standpoint."
Terms like geili (awesome), leiren (shocking), weibo (microblog) and sinuoke (snooker) are among the 3,000 new phrases included in the new dictionary.
07/30/2012
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Rossie Rossie
Hey, who stole the Iwo Jima Monument image?

So the Great Chinese Government's willing to leave out 'comrades' from their dictionary? Says thanks to the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan who started the Tongzhi slang!
07/30/2012
Petite Valentine Petite Valentine
If I'm reading correctly, the government is keeping the word in the dictionary, however they're not including the "gay" meaning. While I think that the reasoning provided — it offends the the compilers' beliefs — is appalling, on the other hand it sounds like "tongzhi" is a slang term, and dictionaries worldwide have been very resistant to adding slang terms so I wouldn't say, "this only happens in China."
07/30/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by Petite Valentine
If I'm reading correctly, the government is keeping the word in the dictionary, however they're not including the "gay" meaning. While I think that the reasoning provided — it offends the the compilers' beliefs — is appalling, ...
I don't think you can say worldwide when the Oxford-English dictionary contains gems like OMG, LOL, and (heart) in their online catalog.
07/30/2012
Petite Valentine Petite Valentine
Quote:
Originally posted by Ansley
I don't think you can say worldwide when the Oxford-English dictionary contains gems like OMG, LOL, and (heart) in their online catalog.
Those particular entries are abbreviations, not slang , but I'm curious, are their entries in the print edition?

I admit a bias towards print editions being "authoritative" though technology is certainly turning that around (R.I.P. Encyclopedia Britannica).
07/30/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by Petite Valentine
Those particular entries are abbreviations, not slang , but I'm curious, are their entries in the print edition?

I admit a bias towards print editions being "authoritative" though technology is certainly turning that around ...
Technically, it's neither. It's chat speak.
07/30/2012
Woman China Woman China
Quote:
Originally posted by Petite Valentine
If I'm reading correctly, the government is keeping the word in the dictionary, however they're not including the "gay" meaning. While I think that the reasoning provided — it offends the the compilers' beliefs — is appalling, ...
Chicken: slang for female prostitute
Duck: slang for male prostitute

Both are just as commonly known as tongzhi.

But the funny part is, chicken and duck are both commonly taught in the classroom, especially with the Chinese English teachers as proper in English.

I don't know about you, but "chicken" is something you eat and their eggs you colour at Easter time. Duck is something you dip into a spicy sauce after you cook it and enjoy the succulent juices. And it goes quack quack quack.

Students are not taught the words; slut, whore or prostitute (not saying these have the same meaning) because it they don't want attention to these words. So instead they use the cutsie slang of "duck" and "chickens"

These words are in the standard Chinese dictionary both in characters and in pinyin with the definitions. And they are slang. As are hundreds of other words with alternate definitions. Just the term "tongzhi" is not defined as the slang term for gay.

Now for the other side of the coin.

Anthony Wong (fantastic article, a pretty short read) publicly at his concert stood up and claimed himself not to be a "tongzhi", but claimed himself to be gay. A homosexual.

To quote the man, ""We're living in the 21st Century now. There's no need for us to live in a fantasy world. There's no need for us to seek the approval of anyone else just to love somebody," said Wong at the event."

It seems that he does not want to be the cutesy and friendly "tongzhi" name, and not be referred too as a term that was used to mock and insult the people who live double lives; preach about fairness, patriotism to the country and anti-corruption yet lie, steal, drive around and live an imported life.



Now for me personally, and in my opinion; it is another one of those last ditch attempts by the Party to display their "iron" fist in their ability to control. One of the compilers said it best; "We don't want to draw attention to these things." " To what things? That when Party leaders great each other with a title "tongzhi" that they are really just calling each other gay publicly? Or trying to deny that China has a massively growing gay population?

But then again... within the next couple of years, there will be over thirty-million men who will never marry... one of the downfalls of the one-child policy that they did not foresee. And not to mention... a son or a daughter will be social outcast if they choose to marry outside the race. Isn't this something that the government should be supporting? Alternate lifestyles?

But then again, if they show support to gay men, then they would have to show support to lesbians. And that would just cause a lot of problems.

And if they show any real support to LGBT community, then that opens up a whole new can of worms here. Independence, the ability to choose, a break from tradition.

But then again it is all about "face".
07/30/2012
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