Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Duck eggs at Mengyang market, outside of Jinghong city, in the XiShuangBanna region of southern Yunnan Province. Bordering Laos and Burma, near Thailand, this region is much more relaxed and laid back than the rest of China. The women wear heels and beautiful silks even when working the fields and markets.

Not so long ago, before China's opening and reform first kicked off in about 1978, free enterprise was so thoroughly reviled that even peasants selling fresh eggs were criticized as capitalists. The editors asked me to write about the topic here and here.

Meanwhile, am getting both encouraging and hostile email over a recent story about gays and lesbians in China. Some appreciative readers say they had no idea it was legal to be gay in China. Another thought it was a crime to run a photo of a drag queen. We did so because a few years ago there were almost no gay bars at all, and now in Beijing alone there are dozens, with drag queens and with advertisements in local magazines. And yet there is still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding, including psychologists who advertize what they say are cures for gayness.