Gay omission

Dictionary >> Homosexuals • China

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

imageA new edition of an authoritative Chinese dictionary has come under fire for leaving out the definition of the word tongzhi, commonly used to refer to gay men and lesbians.

Tongzhi, which literally means “people of the same purpose”, has been traditionally used to refer to “comrades” within the Communist Party. But in recent decades the word has evolved to refer to homosexuals.

The committee charged with revising and updating the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary chose to leave out the definition because it did not want to encourage the use of the word, the director of the committee Jiang Langsheng told Chengdu Business Daily.

It is unacceptable that the “gay” meaning of tongzhi was excluded from the dictionary simply because of the compilers’ own preferences and values, Nan Feng, a gay rights activist told the state-run news agency Xinhua.

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