Gays get online TV forum
Phoenix Satellite Television, the new media arm of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV Media Group, will launch a ground-breaking online series on homosexuals from Thursday.
The 12-episode series, Connecting Homosexual People, will feature several segments, including a panel discussion on contentious issues concerning the gay community on the mainland, such as coming out and gay marriage.
The one-hour weekly live broadcast will also have a video-dating segment, the first such service on the mainland that allows gays to look for a partner or just a pen pal.
Gang Gang , the programme's producer, said an openly gay man had already been secured to host the show and two more gays, including a lesbian, would be recruited to co-host.
Didier Zheng, one of 800 applicants who vied to host the first several episodes, will be the mainland's first openly gay host. Although unimpressed by the label, he said he had no problem coming out in such a high-profile way.
Phoenix Satellite Television vice-president Zou Ming said there were at least 30 million homosexuals on the mainland.
She said the programme did not intend to encourage the public to pry into the lives of homosexual people, 'but to demonstrate how open the country has become'.
Ms Zou added that relatively loose censorship controls over the internet had made the show possible, but they 'still weren't sure of the dating segment, which is still considered uncharted water on the mainland, and would push the show ahead one episode by one episode'.
The series can be seen at http://itv.phoenixtv.com/