Intersections: Conflicting Discourses on Boys’ Love and Subcultural Tactics in Mainland China and Hong Kong

Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
Issue 20, April 2009

Conflicting Discourses on Boys' Love and Subcultural Tactics
in Mainland China and Hong Kong

Ting Liu

  1. Introduction Originating in the late 1970s' Japanese comic (manga in Japanese) culture, boys' love (BL) has become a transnational subculture in which young women create, distribute and appreciate stories of male-male relationships in various media, ranging from fiction, comics, music, video films, cosplays (an abbreviation of costume-play), to computer games. Also known as danmei (耽美, indulge in the beautiful) in Chinese, BL expanded and blossomed in the late 1990s in mainland China and Hong Kong and began to attract considerable media attention. Although niche outlets such as comic magazines and mainstream mass media occasionally communicated the positive aspects of BL subculture, increasing concerns over its negative social effects have been expressed through anti-BL discourses which have sometimes resulted in stricter censorship and regulation. Anti-BL activities peaked in Hong Kong in 2005 and on the Mainland in 2007. Under increasing repression, however, the BL fandom showed no sign of ebbing in either Hong Kong or China in 2008.
  2. In this paper I seek to account for the tactics of BL resistance in two localities. By tactics, I mean calculated action performed by the dispossessed and the powerless following Michel de Certeau's differentiation between tactics and strategies of the authorities.[2] This paper is based on two analytical assumptions: that there is a connection between participants' social status and their choice of tactics; and that there are social sites for subculturalists to mobilise accessible resources and tactical efforts. In particular, I explain four aspects of subcultural survival: what kind of tactics adherents used to resist anti-BL activities; what local resistance practices have in common and how they differ; why adherents employed such tactics; and how their choices influenced the conflicts. Through the lenses of two case studies, I divide the analysis into conflict context, occurrence and outcome chronologically. I suggest that BL participants' social status plays an important role in forming the social networks in which they can mobilise their tactical efforts and shape the forms of resistance. As anti-BL activities surge, participants and their sympathisers tend to use tactics based on the accessibility of the communication networks as well as their familiarity with the communication forms.

    Being funü in mainland China and Hong Kong
  3. A primary goal of this paper is to capture the interplay of BL participants' social status and their choice of survival tactics. In order to explain mobility in cultural production, Pierre Bourdieu expounds on the significance of people's initial cultural taste and their possession of capital in the cultural space.[3] The 'habitus'—'durable, transposable dispositions' of mind, cultural tastes, thought, and action—they possessed before entering the space establishes their initial position within the social space of cultural production.[4] As resources are distributed unequally among social and class strata in this social arena, both social groups and individuals move and struggle through time in pursuit of desirable resources.[5] The struggle for moving between these positions is often expressed in the conflict between orthodoxy and the challenge of new modes of cultural practice.[6] For Bourdieu, winning a better position in the cultural field facilitates more opportunities to succeed in various socio-economic and political environments, which results in competition among individuals and social groups for possessing certain forms of cultural capital and for legitimacy.[7]
  4. BL participants are not simply a demographic category but designate an identifiable social group who possess a particular cultural taste. Funü (腐女 rotten girls) is a term of Japanese origin used as a self-depiction by senior female BL participants who are incurably immersed in the BL subculture. The term has been widely embraced by BL participants from both mainland China and Hong Kong. Another term danmeilang (耽美狼 danmei wolves) has also become prevalent among Chinese BL participants for self-description. In particular, 'lang' (狼 wolves) is traditionally used in Chinese to refer to lechers who try to take sexual advantage of women. Participants' identification of being fu (rotten) and lang (wolves) is used as self-mockery of their appreciation of 'perverse' male gayness and demonstrates their awareness of their unique cultural taste which could be criticised by outsiders.
  5. Funü are usually urban in both mainland China and Hong Kong. They are generally female, students, and heavy Internet users. In China, BL/danmei is considered a 'mini culture' (小众文化) by insiders.[8] This small world is composed of female students and young working women in mainland China. In Hong Kong, BL readers are predominantly female, the majority being high school girls and preparatory students.[9] As students, participants in both societies have more leisure time for their own interests than most career women and housewives. They are usually frequent users of new technologies, especially the Internet. As they stand in between the adolescent and adult worlds, they feel the need to ease the tensions of growing up as well as the vulnerability of being junior in social communications. BL participants' alternative cultural taste, youth status and female gender make them an easy target for negative media coverage.

    BL and the media
  6. Realising the significant role the media play in subcultural construction, many early cultural studies theorists focused on the media's negative role. In the study of the infamous mods and rockers in mid-1960s Britain, Stanley Cohen lays out the steps through which the British media created a moral panic by stereotyping, exaggerating and mishandling representations of youth.[10] Cohen suggests that the media not only build up negative portrayals of subcultures, their constant coverage also results in subcultures becoming normalised and banal. Similarly, Dick Hebdige argues that the media and other establishments contribute to subcultures' quick loss of authenticity through a process of commoditisation and eventual assimilation into the larger mainstream culture.[11]
  7. In contrast, later theorists began to understand the role of the media as more complicated than promoting the decay of subcultural authenticity. Sarah Thornton highlights the role micro, niche, and mass media play in the formation of subcultural ideology as she investigates youth culture that revolves around British dance clubs and raves.[12] Thornton paints a picture of club cultures brought by micro-media (media utilised by subcultural insiders such as flyers, listings and fanzines), transformed into self-conscious 'subcultures' by niche media (like the music and style press), and sometimes recast as 'movements' with the aid of large-scale mass media.
  8. The press is important in depicting the subcultural image to the public. Before the 2007 conflict, media coverage of BL in China had two major themes —gender equality and sexual deviance. The press initially linked BL with the positive gender equality message carried by fashionable youth trends. When BL first entered media consciousness in the early 1990s, most reports were warm introductions scattered in comic magazines about relevant Japanese comic artists, their BL works, and their aesthetic and cultural values. Several popular magazines admitted the positive elements in BL (see Table 1). The sense that danmei sent new gender messages was strong in these articles. University Times portrayed danmei participants as sharing similar characteristics, such as being passionate, generous, enjoying fantasies, and appreciating beautiful things and affections.[13] Southern People's Weekly[14] announced that the phenomenon signalled the start of a subversive 'her time (她世代)' while demonstrating a challenge to the current gender order in China:

      The new generation [of women] has broken into the gate safeguarding men's bodies, and has gone further to explore male/male relationships which were even barely seen in adult movies…From the perspective of tongrennü,[15] female script writers and directors will make the boring routines in adult movies different.[16]

  9. The Globe published two articles on 16 August 2006 claiming danmei represented hope for the equal status of the sexes and helped to form better communications between the two.[17] One article stated (see Figure 1):

      danmei comics describe a world in which people can run across the gender boundaries set between the two sexes and break through the domination of heterosexuality when choosing their love…You choose your partner based on love, not on the sex. Even if it is just imagination, a fantasy, or a fabrication, and even if it has just this bit of positiveness, I believe that danmei is a positive force.[18]

    Figure 1. Danmei is considered 'a positive existence' in The Globe (16 August 2006).

    Table 1. Examples of magazine reports on danmei in China

    Article Title
    05/2005 Changsha 大学时代
    University Time
    University danmei followers
    11/01/2006 Guangzhou 南方人物周刊
    Southern People Weekly
    Tongrennü observing men?
    01/03/2006 Guangzhou 新周刊
    New Weekly
    新时代猛女之同人女调查: 耽美,与性向无关
    New era gutsy women investigation on tongrennü: danmei, nothing to do with sexual orientation
    16/08/2006 Beijing 环球
    日本 女性 耽美文化
    Japan, women, and danmei culture
    16/08/2006 Beijing 环球
    Chinese tongrennü's danmei life
    06/01/2007 Shanghei 天周刊
    Sky Weekly
    Normal women who like homosexuality: tongrennü

  10. However, as BL became more popular and visible, Chinese media began to shift their focus to BL's supposed evil impacts on youth. One report claimed that Japanese comics were a cultural invasion and a threat to Chinese youth:

      …the popularity of these pornographic pocket comics will interrupt their academic study, distract these innocent kids, lower their moral standards, and weaken their legal sense…Comic books peppered with heavy Japanese flavours, values and concepts will bring more damage to students. It is 'cultural hegemony' endangering Chinese kids.[19]

  11. Media criticism of danmei concerned its possible effect of converting readers into homosexuals. Jinling Evening News asserted that participating in the danmei subculture would change readers' sexuality and therefore provoke anti-social behaviour:

      Homosexuality is an unhealthy psychological perversion caused by biological differences. Similarly, peeping, and even creating homosexual love stories are also a perverse psychology which should not be advocated…In the case of Ma Jiajue (马加爵) which took place at Yunnan University recently, the murderer's psychology contained homosexual elements. Thus, it became a tendency that could not be eased, and added to his perversion. Underage girls, not yet biologically and psychologically mature, are easily manipulated by the outside world. Reading too much danmei material will change their sexual orientation somehow.[20]

  12. In 2006, the concern over danmei endangering heterosexual hegemony became particularly obvious as most newspaper coverage that year mentioned this point (see Table 2). Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1999 and removed from the mental illness list in 2001, these reports expressed concerns about readers' sexual orientation, mainly from psychotherapists' viewpoints.

    Table 2. Examples of newspaper reports on danmei in China

    11/08/2001 Shenzhen 晶报
    Shenzhen News
    Pornographic readings invade students' pockets
    06/11/2002 Guangzhou 南方网
    书店竟售黄色卡通书 街头十本漫画五本“黄”
    Bookstores sell pornographic comic books: half contain porn in the street
    04/02/2003 Chengdu 四川在线
    小学生书包里装些啥 日本男孩同性恋漫画
    What is in primary school student's bags? Japanese boys' homosexual comics
    02/04/2004 Nanjing 金陵晚报
    Jinling Evening News
    Homosexual pornographic comic books harm young girls
    18/08/2004 Chongqing 新浪游戏
    Japanese pornographic comics prevail in Chongqing comic and anime market
    01/05/2006 Nanning 当代生活报
    Life Daily
    部分中学女生沉迷同性恋漫画 性取向恐易出问题
    Many schoolgirls indulged in homosexual comics: sexual orientation might go wrong
    01/07/2006 Tianjin 城市快报
    City Express
    校园悄然流行“耽美”文化 专家担心影响性取向
    Danmei culture prevails on campus: experts worried about the impact on sexual orientation
    11/01/2006 Qingdao 青岛早报
    Qingdao Morning Post
    低俗漫画充斥学生读物 同性亲密拥吻惊家长
    Vulgar comics occupied students' readings: same-sex intimacy terrified parents
    24/01/2006 Shenyang 沈阳今报
    Shenyang Today
    同性恋漫画书躲进中学生书包 内容大人看了都脸红
    Homosexual comic books hiding in school kids' bags: contents made adults blush
    13/01/2006 Changchun 新文化报
    New Culture Daily
    同性恋漫画现身长春 扫黄办称此不属黄书
    Homosexual comics appeared in Changchun: office claimed not porn
    07/04/2006 Changchun 新文化报
    New Culture Daily
    同性恋漫画进书店 通篇为接吻赤裸性爱镜头
    Homosexual comics entered bookshops: full of kissing, nudity and sex scenes
    12/30/2006 Shanghai 新民晚报
    Xinmin Evening News
    同性恋小说上书架公开卖 定价15 元中学男生追捧
    Homosexual novels publicly sell on shelves: priced 15 yuan boomed among schoolboys
    01/02/2007 Shanghai 新民晚报
    Xinmin Evening News
    Bookstore punished for selling 'sodomy' novels
    25/03/2008 Guangzhou 新快报
    Xin Kuai Bao
    'Rotten girl' tribe quietly emerge from Guangzhou youngsters born in the late-1980s

  13. Media concerns over the negative impacts of BL received support from the Chinese authorities. Repression of danmei was carried out in educational institutions with the stated purpose of protecting juniors from the corrupting influence of such books. Teachers often played the role of cultural censors while students were mobilised to confiscate 'improper' danmei comics from their peers.[21] The anti-danmei discourse also led to legal and administrative action to prohibit the distribution of danmei material in the market. After Xinmin Evening News reported on the appearance of 'sodomy' novels in Shanghai on 30 December 2006,[22] the administrative authorities immediately confiscated twenty-eight 'books depicting indecent contents such as male homosexuality' from the bookstall.[23] The owner was ordered to stop selling such books and a penalty of between 5000 and 20,000 yuan was imposed.[24] According to Chinese anti-pornography laws, distributors of any material identified as pornographic or obscene are subject to severe punishment from imprisonment to the death penalty.[25] A Sichuan tongrennü was sentenced to a two-year-probation for selling and distributing gay pornographic video discs.[26]
  14. BL in China has faced consistent threats to its survival from the mass media, educational institutions and the state. Any involvement in publishing and distributing BL publications is no longer legally permitted on the Mainland. Participants' subcultural taste thus confirms their underground status, accentuated by their difficulty in accessing subcultural material.
  15. Compared to their mainland counterparts, before the 2005 conflict, Hong Kong media focused mainly on the novelty of the BL subculture as a form of youth fashion among lovers of anime, comic and games (ACG). Early Hong Kong media coverage on BL contained mostly introductions to the comic genre, not aimed at raising moral concerns. The tabloid Easy Finder (壹本便利) first reported the popularity of male homosexual comics in Hong Kong in 2003. In the last issue of the same year, the student magazine Newsletter (謎信) published by the Hong Kong University Animation and Comics Association (HKUACA), traced the development of BL and recommended several BL comic series in its collection. During this period, the attention of mainstream media was mostly caught by cosplay, another popular phenomenon in ACG youth culture which often takes place at comic events such as Comic World Hong Kong (CWHK).
  16. Government regulation before the 2005 conflict mainly concerned comic dealers' illegal exposure of BL sex references to minors. BL materials were not widely available in the Hong Kong market, but not legally prohibited either. The primary purpose of government regulation was to restrict the spread of BL material. BL thus had a very limited chance to survive in the mainstream cultural arena without the authorities' approval. BL comic artist Chen Shasha (塵莎莎) argued in a 2007 interview that government interference since the 1990s had led to a slower expansion of the BL subculture:

      Most Hong Kong publishers and book rental shops do not dare to take BL business for concerns over legal restrictions on local publications and the regular government inspection over book rental shops…One of my girl friends runs a book rental shop in the New Territories. She said that BL comics were the most popular genre in her shop as well as the most dangerous genre because inspectors tended to be stricter when BL comics were found. If there were no such restrictions, I believe the phenomenon would have gone crazy. This is the big environment in Hong Kong. But BL won't cease and will continue to exist for people just love it.[27]

  17. Before the 2007 conflict in mainland China and the 2005 conflict in Hong Kong, the cultural environments for BL participants, who are predominantly female students, were rather different in the two places. In mainland China, as mass media objection and repression from educational institutions increased, so did state regulation. In order to survive, Chinese participants had to carefully maintain their underground status and secretly manage the limited spaces where BL production, communication, and distribution could take place. Compared to the mainland Chinese participants, before the 2005 conflict, Hong Kong BL participants were seen as part of ACG youth fashion and Hong Kong media's attention was primarily on BL's novelty. State regulation of BL focused on restricting its accessibility to minors and the general public and never aimed at wiping the genre out of the Hong Kong market. These different conditions combined together to shape the forms of resistance adopted by BL participants.

    Micromobilisation contexts
  18. Another major goal of this paper is to identify the social sites in which female subculturalists mobilise their resources and tactical efforts. An early feminist approach in subcultural studies sees female participation as marginal, home-centred and private. Take Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber's study on girl fans' adoration of male singers and male groups as an example.[28] Through examining girl fans' gendered relations to mass cultural images, they saw teenybopper culture as vulnerable, impressionable and centred in the home, different from male subcultures which are often seen in the streets. In this section, I look at the social arenas where BL participants resist anti-BL forces, mobilise available resources, and employ particular tactics with which they are familiar.
  19. In the study of social movements, the concept of mobilising structures is significant in understanding how activists use formal organisations and informal networks to bring about particular collective actions and broader movement cycles. Their choices determine their ability to raise material resources and to mobilise subcultural protests, which directly influence their chances of success. John McCarthy distinguishes two wide ranges of mobilising structures.[29] The first range includes all kinds of social movement organisations. The second, termed by Doug McAdam as 'micromobilisation contexts',[30] refers to the range of everyday life social locations within which mobilisation is not the aim but can be engaged in if called upon. They include families, friendship networks, work networks and so forth. The BL subculture is not organised as a social movement as such; however, I use the concept of micromobilisation contexts to link informal mobilising structural configurations empirically with BL adherents' choice of resistant tactics.
  20. Following the increasing popularity of the Internet, scholars have begun to explore the role of the Internet offering mediated networks for subculturalists. Internet forums have enabled people to participate in subcultures through an Internet connection rather than in face-to-face dialogue within the same geographical space.[31] They have not only allowed adherents to follow the latest trends in their local scenes but also facilitated translocal communications that may be regional, national or global.[32] Some scholars have noticed the importance of participants' engagement and interactive practices in the formation of online communities.[33] The Internet also serves as online networks of communication to consolidate and strengthen the subcultural boundaries.[34] Others see the Internet as offering spheres of resistance.[35] For example, Caroline Bassett argues that cyberspace offers subculturalists a ground for disruption in the smooth operation of sex/gender norms, 'the possibility of gender-play' as well as 'the emergence of multiple subjectivity.'[36]
  21. The significance of the Internet as a communication network for resistance is particularly evident for BL participants in mainland China. As BL writer Yangou claims, 'the Internet is good stuff, for it broadens one's views. Indeed, the current craze about danmei fiction is closely related to the popularity of the Internet [among BL participants].'[37] There are many lists providing addresses of BL websites circulating on the Internet. One such list publicised in 2006 included 276 BL websites while another 2006 list included 415 websites.
  22. Of course, the Internet is not immune to censorship and regulation. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are often required to maintain their space free from 'improper' material in order to avoid severe punishment. Many take the government's side without much active resistance. For instance, caifuluntan (财富论坛)[38] was a commercial Bulletin Board System (BBS) ISP in which several BL forums were located. It was targeted by the police on 3 April and 8 June 2006 respectively since some postings in its registered forums, not necessarily BL related, violated the official lines. The rather annoyed management publicised an announcement to voice its frustration with the pressure it faced from the police:

      Our new rule is: better to kill a thousand by mistake than let one escape…[39] If your forum was deleted mistakenly or you felt you were treated unfairly, we are sorry, but please do not contact us. Too much explanation makes no sense at the moment. Keep your opinion. You can blame us, but please do not ask why. This world has never been fair anyway[40]

  23. To escape from the trouble of providing their real IDs and other personal information required to re-register with the targeted ISPs, moderators of some BBS forums, including the ones with the BL theme, might decide to move to another ISP that has not yet been targeted by the authorities. Hence, the nomadism of online BL groups is a response to the inconsistency of the authorities' cyber controls as well as ISPs' registration requirements, and is thus one strategy that makes the Internet a space for BL survival and site for possible mobilisation in mainland China.
  24. The Internet also plays an important role for Hong Kong BL adherents. At the end of the 1990s the rapid development of the Internet contributed greatly to the popularity of tongren culture.[41] Comic artist Xie Baoyu (謝寶裕)says:

      During this period, the popularity of the Internet deeply influenced the tongren world. Many comic fans and tongren supporters established personal websites, forums, tongren message boards, and relevant newsgroups…The Internet not only became a publishing channel for tongren work, but also enabled rapid distribution of news and hearsay which could make 'impossible dreams' come true.[42]

  25. Hong Kong BL adherents have not faced much threat from the authorities in cyberspace; however, the local BL scene has not developed as independently as its mainland counterpart. Many 1990s readers were frequent visitors to early Taiwanese websites such as IClubs where they could find BL parodies based on their favourite anime and comics. Although some BL circles attempted to establish their own websites, for instance, BL circle BSquare created the website BLHK, Hong Kong BL websites often became idle following the emergence of more and more BL websites and forums in Taiwan and mainland China. They also gave way to blogs by individual artists and to circles that displayed and sold their tongrenzhi as a supplement to comic conventions.[43] BL in cyberspace was also subordinated to the wider ACG youth culture as several active BL forums were set up on ACG-focused websites such as X-Forum (香港獨家論壇) and EYNY. While the lack of independent Internet space owned by Hong Kong BL adherents may have lead to their general inability to mobilise protest on a large scale, the alliances they built with other ACG subgroups did generate many sympathisers when attacks against BL emerged.
  26. Comic conventions are another site where BL participants can gather, face to face in this case, and to a degree display their identities in public. Non-commercial comic events in mainland China emerged in the early 1990s in Guangdong and Beijing. Take the Youth Animation Comic Association (YACA) Guangzhou as an example. From the early 1990s, tongren groups composed of students such as TNT, WINCLUB, 119 and Tiantangkongqi (天堂空气) organised several comic events where amateur artists could exchange their works. This trend changed when the vice-CEO of Haiyinjituan (海印集团) Deng Jianguo (邓建国) began to invest in YACA. In January 2001, YACA held the first commercial comic convention, attracting 150 tongren circles and individuals, including about 30 tongren groups from Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore. YACA formally registered with the Civil Administration Bureau in 2003 as a civil organization. With the support from around 300 ACG membership circles in 2007, YACA has expanded its business from organising commercial comic and anime conventions to all kinds of ACG spin-offs. Like YACA in Guangdong province, numerous commercial comic conventions spread all over the country from metropolitan Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to smaller cities such as Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Weifang.
  27. BL comics do not form a big proportion of comic conventions in mainland China because there are no famous BL comic circles and BL artists often work as individuals drawing illustrations for commercial BL fiction. Nonetheless, comic conventions provide venues to publicise, sometimes even highlight BL artists. In the 2007 YACA spring comic convention, BL artists Tianhuoming (天火明) and Jiuge (九歌) were among the several amateur comic artists promoted by YACA in huge posters displayed on the spot. Tianhuoming was introduced as one of the founders of the BL circle Lucifer Club. Jiuge was introduced as an artist who started to engage in BL comic creation when she was an overseas student in the US.
  28. As in mainland China, comic conventions in Hong Kong also experienced a move from self-organised comic events to ones with increased commercial elements. The history of tongren activity in Hong Kong can be traced back to the 1980s.[44] In the 1980s, Manhua zhoukan (漫畫週刊 Comic Magazine) was the most popular comic magazine among young followers of Japanese comics. It not only introduced many influential Japanese comics and contributed to the new market for Japanese comics, but also offered a main channel for distributing news about tongren activities. In 1984, some of its readers founded Zhiyoushe (之友社) which published the first tongrenzhi in Hong Kong, entitled Manhua aihaozhe tongrenzhi (漫畫愛好者同人誌 Tongrenzhi of Comic Fans).[45] Since then, the comic genre has been the predominant form in Hong Kong tongren events. The early trade of tongrenzhi largely depended on comic consignment stores such as Time Memachine and Manhuazhisen (漫畫之森). Between 1993 and 1995, the tongren world suffered a backlash for a number of reasons. For instance, several major consignment shops closed down; Manhauzhoukan weakened under the pressure of the implementation of copyright law; and many early student artists had to quit because of work pressure. As the survival space got smaller, in 1996 several comic circles started to learn from the experience of Japanese amateur comic conventions and successfully organised the first non-commercial comic convention Tongrenji 96 (同人祭96) to encourage the development of unpublished amateur comics. In 1998, the newly formed Hong Kong Comic Association (香港漫畫協會) organised manrenxu (漫人墟) which began to accept funds from the commercial sector. In the same year Japanese comic promoter and art supplier SE Co. Ltd. noticed the potential of the Hong Kong tongren market and started to sponsor comic events. One of the co-organisers of manrenxu, TG Workshop has ever since cooperated with SE and organised CWHK, the biggest commercial comic convention held several times a year. In May 1999, CWHK4 accommodated around 70 stalls. CWHK12 in August 2001 accommodated 155.[46] In 2005 the size grew to over 300 stalls.[47] Apart from the now half-yearly CWHK, Rainbow Gala was another major commercial comic convention commencing in 2008.
  29. Non-commercial comic events continue to grow with support from students along side commercial conventions. Most Hong Kong universities have comic associations to promote tongren culture.[48] Famous non-commercial events include City University's xiaji (夏祭) from 2000 and qiuji (秋祭) from 2001; Chinese University's CAGE since 2001; the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's yixu (藝墟) since 2000; Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Eduction's yingzhiji (螢之祭) since 2005; the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's kedazhiyue (科大之約) since 2000.
  30. In these comic conventions, many BL circles were formed and BL became the most popular genre for female participants. Early BL circles such as H zhushi huishe (H 株式會社) successfully introduced amateur BL comics into the Hong Kong tongren market by the end of the 1990s. By 2001, BL became so popular that some CWHK visitors who were not fond of the subculture complained to the organiser that 'there was too much BL material' in the event.
  31. Unlike McRobbie and Garber's teenyboppers who resisted in their bedrooms, BL participants have formed other social locations for their activities. Comparing mainland China and Hong Kong, it becomes evident that, in mainland China, the Internet has developed into the major network for BL subculturalists who have been under increasing surveillance from the authorities. Conversely, for Hong Kong BL participants, mainstream pressure has not been so severe and their BL activities are mainly staged and organised around local comic conventions as a part of the local ACG scene. The Internet serves as a supplement to these conventions for Hong Kong adherents. Therefore, for Chinese adherents communication via words is a daily practice while their Hong Kong counterparts' most popular communication is not carried out through narratives but by images. As a result, participants in the two places have different experiences within the micromobilisation contexts in which they live.

    Tactics in the conflicts
  32. Issues central to subcultural survival may also vary depending on the participants' use of tactics. Seeing ordinary life as a constant, subconscious struggle against institutions competing to assimilate the everyday person, de Certeau suggests that there is a connection between individuals' status and their tactics of resistance.[49] Citing Karl von Clausewitz, 'the weaker the forces at the disposition of the strategist, the more the strategist will be able to use deception,'[50] de Certeau argues that the weaker the forces, 'the more the strategy is transformed into tactics.'[51] Rosalind O'Hanlon argues that resistance does not emerge to confront oppression of multiform power from a sole or autonomous subject position.[52] Rather, living within the multiple and/or overlapping realms of power, people artfully consume and use resources; the more meagre the available resources, the more artfully they tend to consume and employ such resources. In this section, I look at how BL participants, underground in mainland China while openly associated with the ACG in Hong Kong, employ tactics in social sites wherein they can mobilise their tactical efforts.
  33. I will first explore the 2007 Anti-Danmei Campaign in mainland China. Removing danmei has increasingly become part of the repeated anti-pornography and anti-piracy campaigns on the Mainland. [53] Previously, most participants were cautious about their underground status but were relatively relaxed since danmei had not been the main target of these 'stormy' actions. However, in the 2007 anti-cyber-pornography campaign launched in April, the main target had, by June, finally shifted to danmei particularly under the banner of Chuangjian hexie shehui (创建和谐社会 creating a harmonious society). Xilu shequ (西陆社区), one of the biggest BBS communities in China,[54] became the main battlefield since it was particularly popular among danmei participants. Many famous danmei e-libraries established by volunteers to store collections of Chinese-produced original danmei novels were based in xilu.[55] On 22 June 2007, xilu became the centre of the cyclone when the host ISP declared war on danmei in a public announcement entitled 'Xilu is cleaning up sex related contents in danmei forums' at the request of the authorities:

      Dear Xilu community friends,

      In April the Ministry of Public Security, Central Commission of Propaganda Department, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information Industry, Ministry of Culture, State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Press and Publication Administration, Press Office of State Council, China Banking Regulatory Commission, and the National Anti-Piracy and Pornography Working Committee together launched a half yearly special campaign against cyber pornography. Xilu has since received instruction from the higher authority to eliminate those forums containing information violating the rules, especially those danmei forums under the literature category. Xilu will rectify these forums soon.[56]

  34. The top-down anti-danmei campaign was not accomplished without severe protests. Danmei enthusiasts autonomously employed a variety of tactics aided by their communication networks, particularly the Internet. One tactic used by danmei participants was responding to the state raid with protest postings. Between 23 and 27 June, after the anti-danmei announcement in xilu, there were 246 protest postings. Many separate threads were also involved in the discussion. Some enthusiasts argued that the state raid was a violation of freedom of speech:

      Indeed there is no freedom of expression in this country…They are so gutless that they have to control people's minds! Reading danmei will breed crime??? Watching adult movies will turn the audience into rapists?? Does eliminating all these lead to no crime? This is ridiculous! Simply perform a complete ban of sex, which will lead to asexual reproduction. How clean that would be?[57]

    Some argued against the conservative morality behind the bureaucratic anti-danmei campaign:

      What a wicked world! These prudish people just pretend to be moral defenders. They propagate the so-called 'noble characters', calling on people to stay away from material with poor taste, but who knows how vulgar these banner carriers are in private?…Anyway, we won't give up. In fact, this is just fluff in our eyes, something ridiculous and laughable.[58]

  35. Danmei participants also took the opportunity to challenge prejudice against danmei as a subverted form of subculture. A final year high school girl posted What is the guilt of danmei? Responding to the xilu raid on danmei forums on 1 July 2007 in a danmei website to defend the literary value of danmei novels:

      Those who have been involved in danmei subculture for years would know that a good danmei novel is far more than a quick 'high'. It works on the plots and characters, and brings on readers' thinking of our life and society. While reading danmei novels such as Shinian (十年 Ten Years) by Anyeliuguang (暗夜流光) and Chenxi (晨曦 First rays of the Morning Sun) by Zhouerfushi (周而复始), I feel…that these writers do care for our nation and their writings are far beyond the trivial YY. The issues they discussed in their writings such as SARS, XX Gong, and gap in wealth levels are closely related to our life. May we ask, is this achievable for those popular harem novels?[59]

  36. Another tactic was moving content to offshore servers offering more freedom. Many Chinese danmei participants turned to overseas, particularly Taiwanese, websites to escape tightened state regulation in China. In September 2007, among the eight contracted BL writers of the Taiwanese publisher xianhuanwenhua (鮮歡文化), five were from the Mainland and only three from Taiwan. Among the top twenty VIP BL columns on its website, fifteen were from the Mainland while only five were from Taiwan. In April 2008, mainland Chinese writers' columns comprised 61 per cent of the top 200 danmei BL columns while Taiwanese writers accounted for 30 per cent and Hong Kong only 2.5 per cent. Among the top fifty columns, Chinese writers produced 70 per cent of content while Taiwanese writers accounted for only 22 per cent, and no Hong Kong writer entered the chart.
  37. The third tactic was mirroring, reviving content in cyberspace when the stormy anti-danmei campaign had come to an end. While the increased regulation of danmei is evident, it has turned out to be difficult to eliminate the genre. In fact, state repression could be counter productive. Before the official closure of the six-month anti-cyber-pornography campaign in October 2007, many danmei e-libraries and forums which had been removed from cyberspace were suddenly revived and regained popularity. On 23 September 2007, two danmei forums reappeared in xilu and became the seventh and eighth most popular in the weekly chart of the top twenty BBS forums. In the top twenty literature BBS chart, three danmei forums occupied positions two, twelve and fourteen. In the top ten new BBS chart, one danmei forum became number three while another was number seven. To avoid unwanted attention, some chose to list their forums under categories such as 'the social' and 'other' instead of 'literature' which had been targetted in the anti-danmei campaign. In October 2007, in another BBS community lequyuan (乐趣园), danmei forums also bounced back quickly. As one forum peaked at number one at the top twenty BBS forums,[60] another three debuted at number two, number four and number ten respectively.
  38. The fourth tactic involved protesting through displaying slogans, especially adapted 'revolutionary' slogans in comic conventions. Before the anti-danmei crackdown, only a small section of the message board set up in March 2007 YACA Guangzhou was used by danmei participants to express their fondness for the subculture (see Figure 2). After the state launched the anti-pornography campaign in April, danmei participants turned a much bigger tuyaqiang (涂鸦墙 the scribble wall) at the East-Asian Comic and Animation Tongren Convention (东亚动漫同人大会) in Shanghai into a huge fuqiang (腐墙 rotten wall) in May 2007 (see Figures 3 and 4). Participants left messages such as 'The party says we should build a road of tongren with Chinese characters, whereby BL is the predominant, with GL as a supplement'[61]; 'The single spark of BL can start a prairie fire!,' and 'One who does not have danmei characteristics is not a person! One who does not have SM characters is not a good person!'

    Figure 2. The message board at Guangzhou YACA in March 2007. Danmei fans left messages such as Danmei wangdao (耽美王道 Danmei Rocks) and Qing tuidao wo (请推倒我 Please Push me down)[62] only in the top right corner of the board. Photo taken by author.

    Figure 3. On the first day of Shanghai East Asian Comic and Animation Tongren Convention tuyaqiang (涂鸦墙 the scribble wall) stood as a white board. Source: Heart, online:, 6 May 2007, site accessed 14 March 2008.   Figure 4. On the second day of the convention danmei participants turned the 'scribble wall' into the 'rotten wall.' Source: Unbalanced, online:,108441723.shtml, 5 May 2007, site accessed 14 March 2008.

  39. The fifth tactic was protesting through the most popular BL medium among Chinese participants—BL fiction writing, particularly egao (恶搞, reckless doings)[63] type of creative writing. For example, the key word of the 2007 anti-pornography campaign, hexie (和谐 harmony), often appeared in netizens' postings as hexie (河蟹 river crabs).[64] In a serialised computer game fantasy during this period, the male character was named hexie (河邪 river evil). In Feichang shiqi feichang ai (非常时期非常爱 Special Time Special Love) by Yeyu (夜羽), a serialised danmei novel of the time, Mo Fei (莫非), a police officer, was given the nickname 'little crab' by his same-sex lover Jiang Feng (江风), a police hero fighting against drug smuggling. Initially Mo was active in raiding gay bars but after he found out that his childhood hero Jiang Feng was gay he gradually changed his hostile attitude towards homosexuality. The writer wrote in a scene: when the police were ordered to inspect the local book market for obscene material Mo's unit was reluctant to go because they thought it was normal for adults to consume such material. As Mo's subordinates returned with piles of material confiscated from the market, the first thing they asked was whether Mo wanted anything from it.
  40. The second case I wish to analyse relates to anti-BL conflict in Hong Kong in 2005. As Hong Kong mass media started to follow ACG trends among the youth, it was not a surprise that BL soon caught their attention. At the beginning of 2005, BL comics hit the headlines of major Chinese newspapers when the student magazine U-Beat (大學線), published by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong, identified these comics as 'obscene material.' This so-called qingsuan BL shijian (清算BL事件 anti-BL incident) started when a first-year student reporter, also a self-claimed previous BL fan from middle school, criticised BL comics as being obscene, illegal and immoral in a U-Beat issue published on 18 January 2005:

      Stepping into the Mong Kok comic shops, you will see a special kind of comic. Most of them have covers of a handsome man hugging another small but cute…boy! Yes, those are male homosexual comics (or Boy's Love shortened as BL). These comics depict not only love, but also explicit sex, even SM and catamites. Such comics, without wearing warning signs on book covers, occupy almost half of the shelves in these comic shops.[65]

  41. Feng further stated that BL comics containing obscene imagery were so popular in the market that many schoolgirls from prestigious schools and missionary schools were indulging in them and felt nothing wrong with their behaviour. For some, reading BL comics could ease pressure from examinations. She also alleged that such reading also resulted in some readers changing their sexual orientation and sexual attitudes. While blaming publishers for using sex to sell comics in a shrinking market, Feng argued that these books now flooding into Hong Kong without inspection from the authorities should be prohibited.
  42. The U-Beat coverage set the basic tone for mainstream newspapers. On the following day, BL appeared in the headlines of nine major Chinese newspapers, the Sun, Wenwei Pao, New Times Weekly, Oriental Daily, Hong Kong Economic Times, Apple Daily, Sing Pao, Ming Pao, and Hong Kong Economic Journal. They published twelve reports directly on the phenomenon (see Table 3) and several associated reports on the decrease in quality reading time among university students.

    Specifically, BL received full front-page coverage in the Sun (See Figure 5) and half-a-page coverage in Wenwei Pao, New Times Weekly, and Hong Kong Economic Times. Most coverage took a similar approach to U-Beat concerning BL participants' immoral appreciation of homosexual pornography. Mainstream newspapers fostered a variety of objections to BL comics. Nine out of twelve headlines published on 19 January 2005 highlighted the association of BL with male homosexuality, indicating that, as on the Mainland, the media's main concern focused on the social unease about homosexuality. For example, the Sun quoted a warning from senior clinical psychologist Chen Yaoji (陳耀基) from the Social Welfare Department of the Hong Kong government that reading BL comics victimised Hong Kong youth because 'the sexual orientation of adolescence is not stable yet; and these youngsters, due to secretion of growth hormone, are at the age of "trying out everything" or "don't know what I want".'[66]

    Figure 5. BL made the headline of the front page in the Sun: The ill wind is blowing harder across campus: Gay mens' comics become schoolgirls' favourite. Source: CABeat, online:, February 2005, site accessed on 14 February 2008.

  43. As the media identified their concerns with the sexual images in BL comics, their objections had much to do with girls reading pornographic material with men as objects. Front page news in the Sun emphasised that 'male homosexual comics, coloured with sexual abuse and anal sex, have weirdly become schoolgirls' after-class favourites.'[67] The news lead in Wenwei Pao stated that 'Hong Kong schoolgirls indulged in comics featuring male homosexuality and sexual abuse (BL), among whom many are academically excellent high school girls.'[68]
  44. While most mainstream media blamed BL comics for being harmful to young readers' development, some took a less judgmental stand, trying to help understand the phenomenon. The Hong Kong Economic Times argued that these schoolgirls indulged in BL comics because they were tired of the traditional romances in which storylines were naïve and the female characters were pretentious. In another associated report, the newspaper called for the educators to hold an open attitude to help students understand homosexuality without prejudice. Quoting gender scholar Li Weiyi (李偉儀) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the newspaper argued that women reading BL comics challenged the current gender hierarchy:

      Girls who like to read BL comics show that women dislike men who are weak and have no will of their own, and want to redefine masculinity and femininity. BL comics represent a kind of relationship in which the main characters enjoy relatively equal status. Through BL comics, girls also subvert the mainstream media in which women are stereotyped as figures with big breasts and slim bodies.[69]

  45. Calling for stricter regulation from the authorities, several newspapers identified BL comics as illegal publications which should be classified as 'obscene material' and should not be allowed to be published in Hong Kong. Headlines referring to BL comics as 'banned books,' 'pornographic books,' 'unwrapped homosexual comics' and 'sex books' appeared in newspapers such as Wenwei Pao and Ming Pao. The general secretory Cai Zhisen (蔡志森) of the Society for Truth and Light, a conservative anti-homosexual Christian organisation, demanded through Ming Pao that the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) consider a revision of the local law which led to the current lax control of BL publications.[70]
  46. Local politicians and government institutions sympathised with their argument. LegCo member Zheng Jiafu (鄭家富) from the Democratic Party who flipped through some of the comics said that 'they should be classified as pornographic (not allowed for under age 18) or obscene material (not allowed to be published).'[71] Similarly, the Sun emphasised the obscenity of BL comics backed by government officials in its news lead:

      The adjudicator of the Obscene Articles Tribunal Ye Xingguo (葉興國) admits that since there are only around twenty TELA staff responsible for monitoring broadcasting and publications, they may not be able to inspect the comic shops or newsstands all over Hong Kong in time, creating opportunities for illegal traders.[72]

    Table 3. Newspaper reports on BL in Hong Kong

    News Headline
    19/01/2005 太陽報
    The Sun
    校園歪風愈吹愈烈: 男同志漫畫女生至愛
    The ill wind blowing harder on campus: male homosexual comics girls' favourite
    19/01/2005 太陽報
    The Sun
    Addiction to BL comics interrupts social life
    19/01/2005 文匯報
    Wenwei Pao
    Girls from prestigious schools indulge male homosexual pornographic books: U-Beat report 7A top students could not give up during the examination period
    19/01/2005 文匯報
    Wenwei Pao
    Third level banned books sold all over the streets
    19/01/2005 新報
    New Times Weekly
    女學生沉迷男同志漫畫; 不乏性交性虐 書店公然發售
    Schoolgirls indulged in male homosexual comics: no lack of sex intercourse and sexual abuse sold publicly in bookshops
    19/01/2005 東方日報
    Oriental Daily
    初中女生最愛男同志漫畫 近半大學生日看課外書九分鐘
    Middle school girls like male homosexual comics the most: around half uni students read extracurricular books nine minutes per day
    19/01/2005 香港經濟日報
    Hong Kong Economic Times
    七優女生迷上男同志漫畫: 厭倦傳統戀愛故事幼稚 女造作
    7-A schoolgirls indulged in male homosexual comics: tired of traditional infantile love stories and pretentious female characters
    19/01/2005 香港經濟日報
    Hong Kong Economic Times
    談同性戀 老師態度應開放
    Educators should have open attitude when discussing homosexuality
    19/01/2005 蘋果日報
    Apple Daily
    女生沉迷露骨男同志漫畫: 不乏性虐娈童題材 議員轟內容不健康
    Schoolgirls indulged in explicit male homosexual comics: no lack of sexual abuse and pederasty themes, LegCo member criticised the indecent content
    19/01/2005 成報
    Sing Pao
    Girls from prestigious schools like to read male homosexual comics
    19/01/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    Homosexual comics without 'wrapping bags' were found in Mong Kok
    19/01/2005 信報財經新聞
    Hong Kong Economic Journal
    U-Beat revealed the flooding BL comics
    25/01/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    同志漫畫 談性契機
    Homosexual comics: chance to talk about sex
    25/01/2005 壹本便利
    Easy Finder
    漫畫OUT 日本電視台播同志動畫
    Comics are out: Japanese TV stations broadcasting homosexual anime
    31/01/2005 蘋果日報
    Apple Daily
    《大學線》報導女生沉溺同志故事 BL漫畫引學界爭議
    U-Beat on schoolgirls indulging in homosexual stories: BL comics heating academic debate
    01/02/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    U-Beat Storm
    05/02/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    Debate on male homosexual comics
    08/02/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    Sensitive subjects in U-Beat
    12/02/2005 明報
    Ming Pao
    Challenge to U-Beat
    20/07/2007 明報
    Ming Pao
    戀童口交漫畫 書展任睇任買
    Comics containing child sex and oral sex available in Book Fair

    Table 4. Hong Kong magazine articles on BL.

    Date Newspaper News Headline
    18/01/2005 大學線
    淫亵禁書唾手可得 女生沉溺男同志漫畫
    Banned obscene books handy in streets: schoolgirls addicted to male homosexual comics
    Touch Dong Touch
    男同志漫畫: 解構女生愛睇3大位
    Decoding the three elements of girls' fondness male homosexual comics
    28/02/2005 拼圖
    Five questions to the narrative strategy of U-Beat
    19/05/2005 TM 與中大日本流行文化專家談香港的BL文化
    Talking about Hong Kong BL culture with Japanese popular culture expert at CUHK
    04/20/2005 東週刊
    East Week
    Girls indulged in 'sodomy' sexual comics

  47. Unlike mainland China where tactical responses were from the danmei community, in Hong Kong it was mainly BL sympathisers such as ACG fans and their organisations that deliberately organised the counterattack against anti-BL discourse. One tactic used by the pro-BL camp was to organise counter discourses in cyberspace where the ACG community could take more discursive control. Comic-Anime Beat (CABeat), for example, established a reporting group on 20 January 2005 to follow the incident.[73] Its website also published a special issue including a collection of ACG fans' debates over anti-BL reports in the mass media. In response to media criticism saying BL comics were pornographic, some pointed out that 'there is little doubt that a pornographic element exists in some BL comics, but it exists in almost all kinds of art forms. What makes its existence in BL comics so special? Does the film industry become indecent wholly because of the existence of some adult films?'[74] Some believed that BL comics opened up a space wherein girls could explore the possibilities of their sexual orientation without being pressured by teachers and parents in conventional sex education:

      The discussion of sexuality in schools is always heterosexually centred. Sexual orientation is treated as an issue of the 'others' instead of a significant composition of self consciousness…Parents and teachers cannot stand uncertainty. If students cannot clearly label themselves, they will be defined as troublemakers who need consultation and need to settle their sexual identification immediately…The real problem here is whether schools can provide an environment for girls to see, to feel and to experience their bodies with safety and respect.[75]

    Some pointed out that the anti-BL discourse was in fact a reflection of homophobic sentiment in Hong Kong: 'parents may fear that their sons and daughters would transfer to homosexuals through their involvement in BL culture. This kind of BL-phobia in name and homophobia is in fact both funny and annoying'.[76]
  48. ACG fans also publicised their findings of the mistakes in the U-Beat report in ACG websites. U-Beat's evidence of BL's negative effects was based on the bookshelf capacity of BL comics. Among the six comic shops located at the Sino Centre, Mong Kok, half of the shelves in two shops were occupied by BL comics, depicting BL as a serious social problem. To examine the exact proportion of BL and BL-H comics in the market, ACG fans conducted on-site investigation in these comic shops. CABeat published two sets of data, one previously collected by a group of students between 22 and 26 November 2004 as their assignment, another set was collected by CABeat reporters on 22 January 2005. The results were very similar: In the four comic shops where BL comics could be found, the highest proportion was 13 per cent in the 2004 visit and 14 per cent in 2005. In the 2004 investigation, 45 BL comics were not wrapped in plastic bags or bearing warning stickers according to legal requirements compared with 43 comics in 2005. Among the unwrapped, five contained BL-H content in 2004 while only one did in 2005.[77]
  49. Another counterattack tactic involved having ACG fans voices heard in independent new media other than the mainstream press, for instance In-media (香港獨立媒體).[78] On 28 January 2005 independent columnist Xiaolang (小狼) published his interview with Associate Professor Wu Weiming (吳偉明) in the Department of Japanese Studies in CUHK in In-media. Wu, one of the major sources quoted in the U-Beat report, criticised U-Beat for quoting his words out of context and misleading the public: 'My message was very clear: Don't discriminate against BL comics. It is just a normal activity and a normal way of reading for youngsters.' Wu believed that 'it is not necessary to look at popular culture through tainted glasses, nor from the angle of pan-ethics. Its surviving and creative space could be denied too easily.'[79] In-media published the detailed version of this interview following CABeat's earlier reprint of the extract of Wu's comments to invite a discussion of BL incident earlier. After this report, the number of visitors to the In-media website tripled.[80] In three days, the report attracted over sixty enthusiastic postings; many were in-depth discussions.
  50. The third tactic was mobilising intellectuals in higher eduction institutions where ACG fans could gain easier access to youth culture sympathisers and discursive space for pro-BL discourses. Intellectuals were called upon to take a stand in the debate. Responding to the fierce criticism from ACG youth community, Ma Jiewei (馬傑偉) Associate Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Chinese University of Hong Kong where U-Beat is based, wrote an open letter to the students. While encouraging student journalists to tackle sensitive issues in their journalistic practice, Ma called for the young to reconsider the ideological aspect of U-beat report:

      Years of research on subcultures tells us that mainstream society tends to exaggerate the weirdness of a subculture to the extreme. Since what is exaggerated is generally 'subversive' behaviours, it often causes moral panic in the public and casts social pressure on the subcultural community to be suppressed into underground, vilified, and misunderstood …When reporting on a subculture, do so only with sensitivity to its diversity, your narrative might be able to ease the stereotypes from outsiders and help the society to understand the minority …As young reporters, you should be more cautious when dealing with a subcultural phenomenon. You should comprehend more, enter the sphere more, and then you may give your moral judgment. This is a respect the cultural minority deserves.[81]

    Ma also criticised the local Chinese media for not doing in-depth investigations and for reporting in an irresponsible, exaggerated manner:

      Unfortunately, once mass media outlets outside the universities smelled breaking news, they grab it ferociously. They even selectively focus on those sensational elements…In doing so, these newspapers catch BL 'rotten women', spotlighting them in curious and blaming eyes, expressing some surprise, and then condemning them fiercely. Through this magnification of some extreme elements in BL, they narrowed the public vision even further. Then they criticised that university students were corrupted, and BL subculture was perverse. This kind of attitude—first seeking novelty and then condemning it—is not helpful in reducing prejudices.[82]

    Concerning the incident, the Social Sciences Society of HKU held an ad-hoc forum named 'Discussing BL comics: The comic world's Happy Together' (BL漫畫的探討—漫畫世界的春光乍洩)[83] on 14 April 2005, inviting a group of guest speakers to discuss the incident with university students.
  51. While criticising mainstream media, representatives of ACG subcultures also sought to produce positive interpretations of BL subculture in the mainstream mass media. Joint University Animation and Comics Association (JUACA)[84] issued a statement making a plea for the media and the public to listen to ACG fans. JUACA sent the statement to Ming Pao on 20 January 2005 but did not receive any attention. By then, Ming Pao had set its own agenda, providing advice from educational specialists for teachers and parents on how to deal with BL readers in a group of articles published on 26 January. Ignored by Ming Pao, JUACA turned to Apple Daily. Apple Daily's report on 31 January revealed the rising debate about BL subculture in academia. He Beijia (何贝嘉) and Deng Yaoqiang (邓曜强), the former secretaries of JUACA, explained the differences between BL and homosexuality, and emphasised that BL-H was just a branch of BL in the Apple Daily report.[85] Objections from ACG fans gradually broke into media discourses. Ming Pao published four short commentaries by Ma Jiewei based on his open letter to SJMC students respectively on 1, 5, 8 and 12 February. TM magazine published an interview with Wu Weiming. Under pressure, U-Beat issued a statement on its website on 14 February, clarifying that its intention was to expose illegal BL comics, not the subculture as a whole: 'Our report had no intention of discriminating against BL comics by any means. It simply chose an angle, based on its journalistic value, to reveal that there are comic shops selling obscene BL comics to school students. Its focus was not on other BL comics with the pure love theme.'[86] As ACG fans sympathetic to BL and their organisations took the leadership in mobilising the counterattack against anti-BL discourse, BL fans themselves were hardly heard. One of the counterattack campaign organisers from JUACA complained about the unwillingness of BL participants to 'come out of the closet':

      Fighting for what? This is a question I asked myself all the time during this campaign. Just as Wu Weiming commented, 'those who are fighting for BL do not really often read BL comics. Why don't those who really like BL stand up and speak out for themselves?' It is us, the ACG fans, who have been standing at the frontier*#133;When Apple Daily contacted us for an interview, we invited several BL fans to attend but no one showed up—paradoxically, the drum beats within their own newsgroups have been rather loud …By now protecting ACG culture and bringing U-Beat down have been the only motivations for me to keep this campaign forward.[87]

  52. Three elements might help to explain the absence of BL fans in the counterattack. Firstly, BL fans are subordinates, not leaders within the ACG culture. They are not used to taking a leadership role in an immediate crisis. Also, since they do not control much in the way of independent communication networks, it is hard for them to communicate with one another and take action efficiently. In addition, since comics are at the centre of BL fans' communicative activities and comic events are at the centre of their productive activities, communication via images, not words, is their daily practice.

  53. The outcomes of the two anti-BL conflicts were similar in a sense that the status quo of the local BL scenes has remained. Just as de Certeau argues, while a tactic may penetrate the conformity maintained by the authorities, the strategist cannot prevent the tactician from striking again.[88] The conflicts between the social establishments and the local BL subculture communities have proven to be a continuous process during which neither side could manage to live without the other.
  54. While the subculture continues to expand in mainland China, the authorities have persisted in making danmei a target of regulation. After the 2007 conflict in China, Xinkuai Bao (新快报), a newspaper based in Guangzhou, reported in March 2008 that the number of BL fans had increased in Guangzhou city and BL novels had became more accessible in the market and cyberspace in the past three years.[89] When the 2008 YACA Live Tongren Convention (动漫拉阔同人祭 2008) was held in August, the organisers required participating circles not to trade goods containing pornography, violence, politics, ethical discrimination or anything posing harm to social norms. There was no particular content control over the BL genre. Also, BL was listed among the nine main categories on an application form offered by the organiser. On the other hand, the authorities have continued their attempts to render BL illegal in mainland China. In January 2009, the National Publishing Administration of China updated its third list of banned online fiction, most of which was BL fiction. In the past, it had publicised its first list against normal porn fiction and its second list against politically sensitive fiction.
  55. Upholding the moral high ground, the media kept an eye on the legal issues hanging over the BL business after the 2005 conflict. In July 2007 an article on the Hong Kong Book Fair in Ming Pao again used the same angle criticising BL comics as indecent and dealers as illegal.[90] Ming Pao blamed the sellers in the Book Fair for violating the law by leaving BL books unwrapped in piles accessible for anyone passing by. Further, Ming Pao criticised the Obscene Article Tribunal (OAT) for not taking extra control over BL comics efficiently. The explanation the OAT gave is not different from what they gave in 2005: they performed the inspection duty; however, the OAT had very limited personnel and resources and it would be virtually impossible for them to cover every corner.

      Nonetheless, pressure from the mainstream has spread to the Hong Kong BL community. The BL circle ERO admitted that during the 2005 incident they were very concerned that the legal restrictions might tighten against BL comics.[91] Although they did not feel the eventual change, they had the caution of meeting legal requirements to seal their DIY products and bear warning stickers if the contents were self-categorised as not suitable for minors.[92] Organisers of CWHK also became more cautious when dealing with sexually explicit content in its tongren events. In March 2007 CWHK23 put up striking signs at the entrance of the convention centre highlighting the increasing sensitivity of this issue (see Figure 6).

    Figure 6. Information board set up at the entrance of CWHK23 in March 2007: Together we learn the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (photo taken by the author).

  56. In this paper, I have described how participants in the BL subculture use various tactics to resist anti-BL discourses and activities in mainland China and Hong Kong. The analysis supports the idea that BL participants' status is a significant element in mapping the social locations where they can mobilise tactical efforts and shape forms of resistance. As mainstream repression increases, BL participants and their sympathisers employ tactics derived from the resources they can access within their micromobilisation contexts and the communication forms with which they are familiar.
  57. Following the increasing visibility of BL subculture, anti-BL discourses have strengthened in both mainland China and Hong Kong in recent years. As the Chinese authorities aim to delegitimise BL in the Chinese market, participants have to maintain their underground status to survive. Their networks are relatively independent and secret. Compared to their Chinese counterparts, Hong Kong participants are under less pressure from mainstream authorities who aim to restrict the accessibility of BL to minors and the general public. Their networks are less independent than their Chinese counterparts and largely affiliated with the Hong Kong ACG youth culture.
  58. Participants in the two places have formed their mobilising structures accordingly. The Internet has developed into a major network for BL subculturalists in mainland China while comic conventions have been at the centre of the Hong Kong BL scene which has become a part of the local ACG culture. Thus, communication via narrative is a daily practice for Chinese adherents while images provide the main mode of communication for their Hong Kong counterparts.
  59. Based on the mobilisation contexts they cultivated, Chinese participants resisted anti-BL repression through putting up protest postings, moving to overseas cyberspace, mirroring their websites, displaying 'revolutionary' protesting slogans in comic conventions, and writing in egao style. Lacking independent mobilising networks, Hong Kong BL participants did not themselves lead the counterattack. Instead, ACG fans led the campaign, resisting through publicising counter discourses on ACG websites and independent new media, mobilising sympathetic intellectuals and breaking into the mainstream media.
  60. The conflicting discourses on BL subculture have come down to a power struggle between the subculturalists and their sympathisers on one hand and the social establishment on the other. The mainstream institutions continue to strive for conformity to social norms and values. In the case of mainland China, this takes place through illegitimatising the BL subculture while in the case of Hong Kong BL expansion is restricted. On the other hand, the local BL communities continue to resist such conformity via various tactics within their mobilising networks. Having developed transnationally for more than a decade, BL subculture invites further comparative study on the issue of subcultural resistance.


    [1] Michel de Certeau sees ordinary life as a constant, subconscious struggle against the institutions which attempt to assimilate the everyday person. As he differentiates between strategy and tactic, strategies belong to entities that are recognised as authorities while tactics are calculated actions performed by the dispossessed and the powerless. See Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984, pp. 35–40.

    [2] de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.

    [3] Pierre Bourdieu, 'The field of cultural production, or: The economic world reversed,' in Poetics, vol. 12 (1983):311–56.

    [4] Bourdieu, 'The field of cultural production.'

    [5] Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.

    [6] Bourdieu, 'The field of cultural production.'

    [7] Bourdieu, Distinction.

    [8] Qinglianzicha (青莲子茶), 'Sushisijin: Danmei dashiji (溯史思今——耽美大事记 Tracing the history and considering the currents: danmei memorabilia),' in Danmei zhihua (耽美之华Boys' Love Essence), ed. Wanren gongguan xiaozu (万人公关小组), Harbin: Helongjiang yinxiang chubanshi (黑龙江音像出版社), 2006, p. 9.

    [9] Xiaolang (小狼), 'Du BL manhua (讀BL漫畫 Reading BL comics),' Hong Kong: Dulimeiti (獨立媒體), 1 March 2005, online:, site accessed 23 May 2005.

    [10] Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, London: Routledge, 2002/1972.

    [11] Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style, London: Methuen, 1979.

    [12] Sarah Thornton, Club Culture: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital, Middletown: Wesleyan, 1996.

    [13] Yong'en Wu (鄔詠恩) and Zhixiong Gu (古治雄), 'Liantong koujiao manhua shuzhan rentirenmai (戀童口交漫畫 書展任睇任買Comics containing child sex and oral sex available in the Book Fair),' in Ming Pao (明報), A2, Hong Kong, 20 July 2007.

    [14] Southern People Weekly is a magazine of the South News Group known by readers for its openness and baldness in the Chinese media. It is located in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province in South China.

    [15] Tongrennü (同人女) has two meanings. Originally it refers to girls who participate in self-publishing activities. Since BL is the dominant theme among these girls in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is also used to refer to danmei or BL participants in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Recently, there has been a call to return tongrennü to its original meaning and use other terms such as funü for BL adherents.

    [16] Huaien Lan (蓝怀恩), 'Tongrennü guankan nanren?' (“同人女”观看男人?'Tongrennü' watch men?), in Nanfang renwu zhoukan (南方人物周刊 Southern People Weekly), no. 2 (11 January 2006).

    [17] The Globe is a fortnightly magazine based in Beijing under the Xinhua News Agency. It is one of the series publications of Outlook Weekly (瞭望), a CCP party magazine.

    [18] Bangni Bai (柏邦妮), 'Riban nüxing danmei wenhua (日本女性耽美文化——同人耽美现象调查 Japanese women's danmei culture: an investigation on tongren/danmei phenomenon),' in Huanqiu (环球 The Globe), vol. 408, no. 16 (August 2006):70–72.

    [19] 'Seqing duwu ruqin xuesheng koudai' (色情读物“入侵”学生口袋 Porn invades students' pockets), in Jingbao (晶报), Shenzhensheqing (深圳社情), Shenzhen, 8 November 2001.

    [20] See Yiyi He (贺沂沂), 'Tongxing seqing manhua duhai shaonü' (同性色情漫画毒害少女 Homosexual pornographic comics poison girls), in Jinlingwanbao (金陵晚报 Jinling Evening News), Nanjing, 2 April 2004. The Ma Jiajue murder case: Between 13 and 15 February 2004, Yunnan University student Ma Jiajue murdered four male classmates who accused him of cheating in card play. Ma was sentenced to death in April 2004 and executed in May.

    [21] Feng Cao (曹丰) and Chen Li (陈利), 'Xiaoxuesheng shubaoli zhuangxiesha: riben nanhai tongxinglian manhua (小学生书包里装些啥 日本男孩同性恋漫画 What's in primary students' schoolbags? Japanese homosexual boys' comics,' in Sichuanzaixian (四川在线), Shehuixinwen (社会新闻), Chengdu, 2 April 2003; Jingbao, 'Porn invades students' pockets'.

    [22] Yun Sun (孙云), ‘Tongxinglian xiaoshuo shangshujia gongkaimei: Dingjia 15yuan zhongxue nansheng zhuipeng (同性恋小说上书架公开卖 定价15元中学男生追捧 Homosexual novels publicly sell on shelves: Priced 15 yuan prevail among schoolboys),’ in Xinminwanbao (新民晚报 Xinmin Evening News), A19, Shanghai, 30 December 2006.

    [23] Yun Sun (孙云), ‘Xiaoshou nanhuan xiaoshuo shuwu shoufa (销售“男欢”小说书屋受罚 Bookstore punished for selling ‘sodomy’ novels),’ in Xinminwanbao (新民晚报 Xinmin Evening News), Shanghai, 2 January 2007.

    [24] Yun Sun, 'Bookstore punished for selling "sodomy" novels.'

    [25] Zhou He, 'Pornography, perception of sex, and sexual callousness: a cross-cultural comparison,' in Media, Sex, Violence, and Drugs in the Global Village, ed. R. Yahya Kamalipour and R. Kuldip Rampal, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001, pp. 131–52, p. 135.

    [26] Honghu (鸿鹄), ‘Honghu's little nest (鸿鹄的小巢),’ in Shaonianrensheng (少年人生 Youth Life), no. 2 (2006):192.

    [27] Interview with Chen Shasha in Hong Kong in 2007.

    [28] Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber, 'Girls and subcultures,' in Resistance Through Rituals, ed. Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson, London: Routledge, 1975/1993.

    [29] John D. McCarthy, 'Constraints and opportunities in adopting, adapting, and inventing,' in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilising Structures, and Cultural Framings, ed. Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy and Mayer N. Zald, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 141–51.

    [30] Doug McAdam, 'Micromobilisation contexts and recruitment to activism,' in International Social Movement Research, vol. 1 (1998):125–54; Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald, 'Social movements,' in Handbook of Sociology, ed. Neil J. Smelser, Newbury Park, Calif: Sage, 1998, pp. 695–738.

    [31] Patrick J. Williams, 'Authentic identities: straightedge subculture, music and the Internet,' in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, no. 35 (2006):173–200.

    [32] Paul Hodkinson, Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture, Oxford, UK: Berg, 2002; Patrick J.Williams, 'How the Internet is changing straightedge,' in Youth Subculture: Exploring Underground America, ed. Arielle Greenburg, New York: Pearson Longman, 2007, pp. 104–15.

    [33] Rhiannon Bury, '"The X-Files", online fan culture, and the David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades,' in The Post-Subcultures Reader, ed. David Muggleton and Rupert Weinzierl, Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003, pp. 269–83.

    [34] Paul Hodkinson, '"Net.Goth": Internet communication and (sub)cultural boundaries,' in The Post-Subcultures Readers, ed. David Muggleton and Rupert Weinzierl, Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003, pp. 285–98.

    [35] Ednie Kaeh Garrison, 'US feminism—Grrrl style youth (sub)cultures and the technologies of the third wave,' in Feminist Studies, no. 26 (2000):141–70; Also see Marion Leonard, 'Paper planes: travelling the new grrrl geographies,' in Cool Place: Geographies of Youth Cultures, ed. Tracy Skelton and Gill Valentine, London: Routledge, 1998, pp. 101–18.

    [36] Caroline Basset, 'Virtually gendered: life in an on-line world,' in The Subcultures Reader, ed. by Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton, London & New York: Routedge, 1995/1997, pp. 537–50.

    [37] Yan'gou (烟狗), ‘Juanshouyu (卷首语 Preface)’, in Danmei zhihua (耽美之华 The Essence of Danmei), ed. Wanren gongguan xiaozu (万人公关小组), Harbin: Heilongjiang yinxiang chubanshi (黑龙江音像出版社), 2006, p. 7.

    [38] Caifuluntan (财富论坛), online: I visited the site on 10 June 2006. At the time I could only find the announcement posted by the website host stating it was in the 'cleaning up' procedure required by the police. But it did not recover from the crackdown and soon was shut down completely.

    [39] This is a famous anti-revolutionary slogan put forward by the leaders of KMT, Jiang Jieshi (蒋介石) and Wang Jingwei (汪精卫) in 1927 when the first civil war broke out between KMT and CCP. The sentence is cited from history textbook in China.

    [40] Caifuluntan put up the announcement on 10 June 2006. I also visited the site that day.

    [41] Tongren, or doujin in Japanese, a term refers to people who are involved in self-publishing pamphlets or magazines related to ACG distributed within specific associations or societies.

    [42] Baoyu Xie (謝寶裕/Lemon Po), ‘Xianggang tongren huodong jianshi’ (香港同人活動簡史 Hong Kong tongren history), 26 September 2005, online:, site accessed 11 July 2008.

    [43] Tongrenzhi, or doujinshi in Japanese, is currently a term referring to self-printed publications related to ACG.

    [44] Ni'ao (尼奧), ‘Huishou kan tongrenzhi yu tongrenzhi zhanxiaohui’ (回首看同人誌與同人誌展銷會 Trace tongrenzhi and tongrenzhi events), in Blooding 5, Hong Kong: Qingxiecuilin Blooding xiaozu (青協翠林Blooding小組), 2001, pp. 8–11.

    [45] Xie, 'Hong Kong tongren history.'

    [46] Qing (晴), '‘Tongrenzhi Gailun' (同人誌概論 The general introduction to tongrenzhi),’ Hong Kong: CUHKACS (香港中文大學動漫畫研究社), 26 August 2002, online:, site accessed 6 September 2007.

    [47] Xie, 'Hong Kong tongren history.'

    [48] Wai-ming Ng (Wu Weiming 吳偉明), 'Japanese elements in Hong Kong comics: history, art, and industry,' in International Journal of Comic Art, vol. 5 (2003):184–93.

    [49] de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.

    [50] Karl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege (On War), Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.

    [51] de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, p. 38.

    [52] Rosalind O'Hanlon, 'Recovering the subject: 'subaltern studies' and histories of resistance in colonial South Asia,' in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 22 (1988): 189–224.

    [53] Anti-pornography and anti-piracy campaigns are often organised by the cultural authorities in mainland China to secure the peace and harmony of the society during politically sensitive times such as 1989 Tian'anmen Square protests memorial, the Communist Party Congress, and the People's Congress as well as big events such as Beijing Olympic Games.

    [54] Xilu shequ (西陆社区) was the third runner in 2005 best BBS communities contest in China, following Qiangguo shequ (强国社区) and Tianya shequ (天涯社区).


    [56] Add reference here

    [57] A posting on Xilu shequ, 24 June 2007, online:, site accessed 3 August 2007.

    [58] A posting on Xilu shequ, 24 June 2007, online:, site accessed 3 August 2007

    [59] YY is the initials of Yiyin (意淫), referring to psychic organism, or readers' imagination in general. XX Gong refers to Falungong (法轮功) which is a filtered word in China. See Lychee, 'Danmei hezuizhiyou? Youganyu zhuduoxilu zhuduo danmei wenku beifeng' 耽美何罪之有?——有感诸多西陆诸多耽美文库被封 What is the guilt of danmei? Responding to the xilu raid on danmei forums, 1 July 2007, online:, site accessed 27 August 2007.

    [60] The chart was based on zonghe zhishu paihang(综合指数排行 the comprehensive index).

    [61] GL refers to girls' love, depicting stories of female/female relationship which is equivalent to BL.

    [62] Tuidao (推倒 Push down) has a special meaning in BL culture. The first is to have sex. Some BL fans joked about BL culture was a 'push-down' culture, with a purpose of putting the male characters in bed. It also expresses a loving feeling to the one being pushed down, male or female.

    [63] Also known as kuso in Japanese, the term used in East Asia for the internet culture that generally includes all types of camp and parody. The Mandarin Chinese word èggo (simplified Chinese: 恶搞; traditional Chinese: 惡搞, literally meaning "reckless doings") is often used as a synonym or description of its meaning. In Japanese, kuso means shit, and is often uttered as an interjection. It is also used to describe outrageous matters and objects of poor quality. This definition of kuso was brought into Taiwan in around 2000 by young people who frequent Japanese websites and quickly became an internet phenomenon, spreading to Hong Kong and subsequently the rest of China.

    [64] Hexie (river crabs) is not only a homophone of hexie (harmony) but also a metaphor for tyrannical actions since crabs move sideways.

    [65] Guanzhi Feng (馮冠芝), ‘Yinhui Jinshu Tuoshoukede: Nüsheng chenni nantongzhi manhua’ 淫亵禁書唾手可得: 女生沉溺男同志漫畫 Banned obscene books handy in the open street: schoolgirls addiction to male homosexual comics, in U-Beat (大學線), vol. 66, no. 6 (18 January 2005), online:, site accessed 20 February 2007.

    [66] 'Chenmi BL manhua yingxiang shejiao' (沉迷BL漫畫影響社交 Addiction to BL comics interrupts social life), in the Sun (太陽報 ), A1, Hong Kong, 19 January 2005.

    [67] 'Xiaoyuan waifeng yuchui yulie: Nantongzhi manhua nüsheng zhiai' (校園歪風愈吹愈烈: 男同志漫畫女生至愛 The ill wind blowing harder on campus: male homosexual comics girls' favourite), in the Sun (太陽報), A1, Hong Kong, 19 January 2005.

    [68] Jinjia Huang (黃錦佳), 'Mingxiao nüsheng chenmi nantongzhi yinshu: Daxuexian baodao 7yiugaocaisheng huikaoqijian rengshoubushijuan' (名校女生沉迷男同志淫書:《大學線》報道7優高材生會考期間仍手不釋卷 Girls from prestigious schools indulge in male homosexual pornographic books: U-Beat report 7A top students could not give up during the examination period), in Wenwei Pao (文匯報), A15, Hong Kong, 19 January 2005.

    [69] Shaozhen Zhang (張少貞), 'Qiyiu nüsheng mishang nantongzhi manhua: Yanjuan chuantong lian'ai gushi youzhi nüzaozuo (七優女生迷上男同志漫畫: 厭倦傳統戀愛故事幼稚 女造作 7A top schoolgirls indulge in male homosexual comics: tired of traditional infantile love stories and pretentious female characters),' in Hong Kong Economics Times, A22, Hong Kong, 19 January 2005.

    [70] 'Wangjiao faxian meifengdai tongzhi manhua' (旺角發現沒「封袋」同志漫畫 Homosexual comics without 'wrapping bags' were found in Mong Kok), in Ming Pao (明報), A10, Hong Kong, 19 January 2005.

    [71] 'Homosexual comics without 'wrapping bags' were found in Mong Kok.'

    [72] 'The ill wind blowing harder on campus: male homosexual comics girls' favourite.'

    [73] CABeat (動漫線), its website closed down in 2007 because of the lack of editorial personnel, was an experimental website on comic and animation established by a group of ACG fans Xiaolang (小狼), (Awei) 阿唯 and (Sikao) 思考.

    [74] Awei (阿唯), ‘Nansheng jiaodu kan BL’ (男生角度看BL Looking at BL as a man), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [75] Xiaocao (小曹), 'Cong yuedu BL manhua dao jingyan shenti' (從閱讀BL漫畫到經驗身體 From BL comic reading to physical experience), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [76] Gletscher, 'Cong juneiren yanzhong kan BL wenhua' (從局內人眼中看BL文化 Looking at BL culture as an insider), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [77] CABeat Reporting Group (動漫線報導組), 'Daxuexian shuju zuishao kuada 3.5 bei' (大學線數據最少誇大3.5倍 U-Beat data at least exaggerated 3.5 times), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [78] In-media is a grassroots journalism website in Hong Kong established by a group of local scholars and influential cultural personages such as Liang Daowen (梁文道), Yu Ruomei (俞若玫), Shao Jiazhen (邵家臻), Ye Yincong (葉蔭聰), Lin Aiyun (林靄雲), Liang Baoshan (梁寶山), Hu Luqian (胡露茜), and He Xiulan (何秀蘭) to encourage alternative journalistic practices outside of the mainstream media industry.

    [79] Xiaolang (小狼), 'Manhua boshi: Daxuexian duanzhangquyi' (漫畫博士: 《大學線》 斷章取義 Comic Doctor: U-Beat quotes out of context, in Dulimeiti (獨立媒體) 28 January 2005, online:, site accessed 6 March 2007.

    [80] CABeat Reporting Group (動漫線報導組), 'Qingsuan BL shijian zenme kaishi? Ruhe fazhan?' (清算BL事件怎麼開始? 如何發展? How did the anti-BL incident start and develop?), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [81] Jiewei Ma (馬傑偉), 'Open letter,' Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2005, online:, site accessed 12 March 2007.

    [82] Ma, 'Open letter.'

    [83] Happy Together (春光乍洩) is Wang Jiawei’s (王家衛) award winning film in 1997, which cemented his international reputation as one of the leading filmmakers in Hong Kong. The film is an emotional journey which a Hong Kong gay couple went through in South America in a process of breaking up and making up.

    [84] JUACA (大專動漫畫聯會) is composed of member ACG associations from many Hong Kong universities.

    [85] Peimin Chen (陳沛敏), 'Daxuexian baodao: Nüsheng chenni tongzhi gushi BL manhua xianxuejie zhengyi' (《大學線》報道 女生沉溺同志故事 BL漫畫掀學界爭議 U-Beat Reports: School girls indulge in homosexual stories, BL comics brought debates in universities), in Apple Daily, Hong Kong, 31 January 2005.

    [86] 'Shengming' (聲明 Declaration) U-Beat, 14 February 2005, online:, site accessed 30 March 2007.

    [87] Henryporter, 'Shengtao daxuexian' (聲討大學線 Denouncing U-Beat), in CABeat (動漫線), no. 2 (28 February 2005).

    [88] de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.

    [89] Xuanjian Wu (吴璇坚), 'Guangzhou 80 hou qiaoxian funüzu' (广州80后悄现腐女族 'Rotten Women' quietly emerge from youngsters born in the 1980s in Guangzhou), in Xinkuai Bao (新快报), Guangzhou, 25 March 2008.

    [90] Wu and Gu, 'Comics containing child sex and oral sex available in the Book Fair.'

    [91] Interview with E.R.O. in Hong Kong in 2007.

    [92] Interview with E.R.O. in Hong Kong in 2007.

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