Two female university students in China have drawn ire for holding up a giant banner that promoted blatant, anti-homosexual rhetoric this week.
The students were photographed on April 16 during a basketball tournament at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Shanghaiist noted. The banner read:
“Defend traditional Chinese ethical principles, uphold socialist core values, resist corruption from decadent Western ideas, keep homosexuality far away from the university campus.”
The photo was first uploaded by Ling Bing, basketball coach of the students pictured. His post, which received at least 650 “likes,” was captioned with “It’s the wish of the public, which I always bear in my heart.”
One of the girls in the picture voiced her opinion, “The women’s basketball team used to be disaster area for homosexuality. But after our positive education and reform, there are very few gay people left on the women’s basketball team.”
However, many Chinese netizens were easily displeased with the homophobic display, particularly the LGBT community. A 22-year-old gay student at HUST told Sixth Tone, “I have never seen such specific exclusion or discrimination committed with such great fanfare.”
“We all feel extremely angry about their behavior and feel like they don’t suspect the rights of minorities,” an unnamed student who claimed to be classmates with the girls told Sohu.
Some web users echoed:
“Traditional Chinese ethical principles and socialist values, seriously?”
“Resident corruption from decadent Western ideas? You know, homosexuality was also practiced in ancient China? Their ignorance is astounding.”
In the past, HUST promised not to discriminate LGBT students, sending emails that educated the student body on LGBT issues. Over time, it even earned the reputation of being a “relatively friendly campus” for LGBT students, according to Huang Haojie, a 25-year-old who works for the Wuhan Companion LGBT Center.
But then again, discrimination against the group persists in many Chinese schools. HUST has yet to respond to the controversy.