Sinica Podcast
Jay Kuo on Beijing's Gay 90s

Jay Kuo on Beijing's Gay 90s

My brother also talks about his book, our family's China connections, and TikTok
Cross-post from Sinica
I swear, I’m taking Sundays off! But I had to take this opportunity to let you know about a podcast interview I did with my own dear brother, Kaiser Kuo. Kaiser is one of the world’s preeminent experts on U.S.-China relations, and his Sinica podcast is a must-read for anyone interested in the increasing competition and tensions between the two biggest superpowers. In this episode, we discussed a topic quite personal and interesting in my own past: I was witness to and part of the birth of the gay community in China in the late 90s! I hope you give this a listen—we also talk our parents and family, the politics of China during election years, and the future of TikTok. I’m a paid subscriber to support my brother’s critical work, and I recommend his substack highly! — Jay -

This week on Sinica, I'm delighted to welcome — my brother! Jay Kuo is a Broadway writer & producer, and the man behind the terrific U.S. politics-focused Substack newsletter The Status Kuo. In a previous life, from 1996 to 200

0, he was also really active in Beijing's gay community, just at the time when homosexuality was being decriminalized and was stepping out of the shadows. We talk about how it all took off. Jay also puts on his other hat to talk about how China figures into American politics with the election less than five months away, and about the legal standing of the TikTok divest-or-ban law.

4:54 – The gay community in Beijing in the ‘90s, and the Half-and-Half bar in Sanlitun 

16:06 – How the gay community in Beijing changed after two major rulings 

27:33 – The end of the “golden era” for the gay community in China

36:26 – Progress and its drivers and obstacles

42:28 – Jay’s “China priors”

50:41 – The issue of China in the upcoming U.S. presidential election 

 57:08 – The TikTok ban bill 


Jay: The TV series Manhunt (2024), available on Apple TV

Kaiser: The TV series The Sympathizer (2024), available on HBO; the audiobook of The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, narrated by François Chau 

Sinica Podcast
A weekly discussion of current affairs in China that looks at books, ideas, new research, intellectual currents, and cultural trends that help us better understand what’s happening in China’s politics, foreign relations, economics, and society. Join each week for in-depth conversations that shed more light and bring less heat to the way we think and talk about China.
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Kaiser Y Kuo