Campus lecture causes controversy over ‘discriminatory’ comments

A snapshot of the teaching material displayed at the lecture


A lecture delivered to freshmen at Shenyang Normal University in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province caused wide controversy on Chinese social media, putting homosexuality and female smokers in the same category as “promiscuousness” and “drug abuse.”

According to a snapshot circulating online of the teaching material displayed at the lecture held at Shenyang Normal University, in the section about “current phenomenon” on campus, the lecturer put female smokers and homosexuals in a list together with “drug abusers” and “promiscuous lifestyle choices.”

Chinese web users thought the lecture’s content and arrangement were obvious examples of gender discrimination: Why is female smoking a problem but not a male smoking?

In response to the lecturer’s listing of homosexuality, some web users countered saying that homosexuality is no longer considered a psychological disease. A revised version of the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders, published by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry in 2001, removed homosexuality from the classification of mental diseases. 

A freshman who attended the lecture told The Paper that the content suspected of discrimination was an extension of an anti-fraud lecture. The connotation between the lines of the lecturer’s speech was that homosexuality is shameful and female smoking is ugly. 

A faculty member from the university denied that the lecturer used any discriminatory language, according to The Paper. The lecture was instead given by a security expert invited from outside the university on October 28. It was a security education lecture targeting freshmen. 

The university faculty member pointed out that the lecturer did not advocate, disapprove or support smoking among females and homosexuality on campus. 

The faculty member thought that web users had taken the content out of context and distorted the lecture’s positive educational purposes.

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