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Studies of Queer Chinese Filmmakers: Fan Popo

Fan Popo (b. 1985) is one of the most prolific queer filmmakers and activists from mainland China. He uses digital videos and films to advocate gender equality, sexual diversity and minority rights. The following two video talks examine his queer films and film-related activism.


The first video focuses on his documentary films, most of which were made within China’s queer communities between 2009 and 2016. I emphases the use of performance elements and the performative nature of his documentary through what I call the ‘theatre-documentary convergence’. This feature has wider implications for understanding mediated queer activism in China.


The second video focusses on his fiction films and film-related activism in Berlin between 2019 and 2021. In the video, I focus on the articulations of a queer diaspora politics through his queer films and film curatorial practices.

Recommended further reading:

Fan Popo’s website:

Hongwei Bao. 2021. ‘Queer Disidentification: Or How to Cook Chinese Noodles in a Global Pandemic.’ Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 17 (1-2): 85-90.

Hongwei Bao. 2021. ‘Sharing Food, Vulnerability and Intimacy in a Global Pandemic: The Digital Art of the Chinese Diaspora in Europe.’ Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 8 (2/3): 129-145.

Hongwei Bao. 2020. ‘Performing Queer at the Documentary-Theatre Convergence: Mediated Queer Activism in Contemporary China.’ In Sage Handbook of Global Sexualities, edited by Zowie Davy et al, 944-968. London: Sage.

Hongwei Bao. 2020. ‘The Queer Global South: Transnational Video Activism Between China and Africa.’ Global Media and China 5 (3): 294-318. DOI:10.1177/2059436420949985

Hongwei Bao. 2020. ‘An Interview with Popo Fan.’ Queer Lens (24 November)

Hongwei Bao. 2019. ‘The Queer Generation: Queer Community Documentary in Postsocialist China.’ Transnational Screens 10 (2): 1-17. DOI: 10.1080/25785273.2019.1662197

Hongwei Bao and Popo Fan. 2019. ‘Love Your Films and Love Your Life: An Interview with Fan Popo.’ Positions: Asia Critique 27 (4): 799-809.