As Lily Kuo reported at Quartz, the effort continues today:
Yesterday (Aug. 13) marked Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as the Qixi Festival. Though it’s a traditional holiday that celebrates romance dating back to the Han dynasty, it’s now becoming a rallying point for China’s small but growing gay-rights movement. Yesterday, a gay couple kissing in Beijing was greeted by cheers. A video of a 90-year-old grandmother (paywall) in Fuzhou province explaining her support of her gay 28-year-old grandson has been circulating the internet. State media Xinhua declared in a headline, “Chinese Valentine’s, our gay day!” (Xinhua’s Chinese edition led with a more toned down headline: “More Chinese guys [sic] openly celebrate Qixi“)
Friday, August 24, 2012
[Please click on the link embedded in the title above through to the original post for many, many extremely groovy pictures and links to the Youtubes referenced below.]
The Pussy Riot sentences (and the original prosecution) were misguided and excessive.
The video is worth watching fullscreen on Youtube for its telling detail, including an awkward moment when Kirill gifts Putin with an ancient icon of the Mother of Tenderness, a depiction of the Virgin Mary of Vladimir regarded as the protector of Russia (see endnote).
Putin briskly receives the icon, presents it to his wife for appropriate obeisance, and hands it off to a henchman. Kirill, apparently not quite able to grasp the simple idea that what's Putin's is Putin's--period--flutters around ineffectually, trying to maintain an air of continued church involvement in the ritual transfer as the treasure literally passes from his hands.
Clerics said they hoped the relic would help more Russian women become mothers as the influential Russian Orthodox Church is actively promoting motherhood to help the government curtail a population decline.
Church officials in several cities plan to take the relic to pregnancy centres that counsel women contemplating an abortion, the Russian Orthodox Church said.
“This event is of huge significance especially when it comes to strengthening people’s faith,” Father Kirill, a spokesman for the Saint Petersburg diocese, told AFP.
“And the fact that this is such a singular relic helping women is especially important for our city and our country, where the demographic situation leaves much to be desired.”
Russian leaders have called the shrinking population a matter of national security.
The country’s latest census released earlier this year showed that the country’s population had shrunk by 2.2 million people since 2002 and now stands at 142.9 million.
Yet it would be a mistake to label this discreetly influential man as just another power-hungry party apparatchik or ex-KGB “siloviki”, the unflattering term given to describe the network of ex and current state-security officers. He has a fascination with Russia’s religious legacy and has helped launch a foundation that encourages reconciliation of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"I think traditional family values and childbearing should not be substituted with some notorious imitations invented by the homosexual propaganda which could be only arbitrarily called attributes of a democratic society," he said at the opening ceremony of the 15th World Russian People's Council held on Wednesday in Moscow.
Yakunin told that he wanted to address this issue in his speech delivered at the Berlin forum last year, but he was warned that "this country will hardly understand you; and you may have troubles here."
"Nothing of the kind. There was not a single protest made and not a single person left the room because I mentioned that the propaganda of homosexuality was the same pollutant for the social environment as other pollutants were for the natural one," he said.
Endnote: It is difficult to resist a wander through Russian Orthodox Church history.
I don't think it's too risky to lean on Wikipedia as a source for information on the icon:
The Theotokos of Vladimir (Greek: Θεοτόκος του Βλαντιμίρ), also known as Our Lady of Vladimir or Virgin of Vladimir (Russian: Владимирская Икона Божией Матери) and "The Vladimir Madonna" - is one of the most venerated Orthodox icons and a typical example of Eleusa Byzantine iconography. The Theotokos (Greek word for Virgin Mary, literally meaning "Birth-Giver of God") is regarded as the holy protectress of Russia. The icon is displayed in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Her feast day is June 3. Even more than most famous icons, the original has been copied repeatedly for centuries. Many copies now have considerable artistic and religious significance of their own. The icon is a version of the Eleusa (tenderness) type, with the Christ child snuggling up to his mother's cheek.
About 1131 the Greek Patriarch Luke Chrysoberges of Constantinople sent the icon as a gift to Grand Duke Yury Dolgoruky of Kiev. The image was kept in the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery until Dolgoruky's son Andrey Bogolyubskiy brought it to his favourite city, Vladimir, in 1155. ...
In 1395, during Tamerlane's invasion, the image was taken from Vladimir to the new capital, Moscow. ...Vasili I of Moscow spent a night crying over the icon, and Tamerlane's armies retreated the same day. The Muscovites refused to return the icon to Vladimir and placed it in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Moscow Kremlin. The intercession of the Theotokos through the image was credited also with saving Moscow from Tatar hordes in 1451 and 1480.
... In December 1941, as the Germans approached Moscow, Joseph Stalin allegedly ordered that the icon be placed in an airplane and flown around the besieged capital. Several days later, the German army started to retreat.
I might add that there are rumors that another Marian icon, Our Lady of Kazan, was paraded around the fortifications of Leningrad during the epic siege.