Chinese school targets LGBTQ students with probe

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08/29/2021

A Chinese university appears to have asked its colleges to make lists of their LGBTQ+ students and report on their “state of mind,” a purported internal directive published online on Chinese and foreign social media platforms said. Shanghai University has not confirmed the request or responded to queries about its intention, but it has sparked alarm among young Chinese, coming after a crackdown on campus groups and organizations supporting LGBTQ+ and feminist communities. The “campus survey,” citing “relevant requirements,” asked colleges to “investigate [and] research” students identified as LGBTQ+. It also requested information on the students’ state of mind and psychological condition, including political stance, social contacts and mental health status. The questionnaire did not explain what “relevant requirements” it was referring to. Students and LGBTQ+ rights advocates have expressed concern that the information-gathering exercise could signal further targeting of students. Some legal experts on Chinese social media sites are questioning whether such a practice would contravene China’s new data privacy law. Shanghai University’s communications department could not be reached for comment. Other departments referred the Guardian to the communications department. The original post on a microblogging site with a screenshot of the document was shared or liked tens of thousands of times. The user who first posted the document said that the post has now been taken down.

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