Chinese Censors Approve First Gay Love Story in a Movie

Director Wang Chao. Photo: Thibault Camus/Corbis

After refusing to allow films about gay couples to open in theaters for years, Chinese censors this week approved the release of Wang Chao's Seek McCartney, a romance about a secret interracial relationship between two men. The film is a joint Chinese-French co-production, which experts say improved its chances at getting a theatrical release. (China sets a cap on the number of foreign films allowed to screen in theaters.)

Though Wang praised the move on Weibo as "a big step for the members of the film industry," gay-rights activists aren't so sure. As filmmaker Fan Popo told the AFP, "The fact that this film can be released in theaters doesn't mean gay films in the future will be able to be released in China. China's system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the individual censor's whims." Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, but electroshock conversion therapy remained legal until last year.