Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Lisa Koch

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Over the past more than a decade of Xi Jinping’s leadership, the space for civil society in China has shrunk dramatically. One of the main, yet often overlooked, victims of this shift in policy has been China’s LGBTQ+ community. This thesis examines the current crackdown on LGBTQ+ peoples and organizations in China and attempts to place it within a broader context of China’s current state in the world order. The lenses of queer International Relations theory and the long history of “homosexuality” in China will both be applied to help contextualize the current state of Chinese LGBTQ+ rights. This analysis will also present a comprehensive timeline of the various events and actions taken by the current Chinese state to suppress this community to demonstrate the systemic level nature of this crackdown. Drawing on these two frameworks, this thesis argues that the political deployment of homophobia and associated suppression of LBGTQ+ rights in China is used to consolidate identities, enforce heteronormative forms of behavior, and ultimately to consolidate the power, legitimacy, and control of Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China.