A gay Chinese student is challenging her government over school textbooks that describe homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Gay sex is not illegal in China and homosexuality was delisted as a mental disorder in 2001.

Twenty-one-year-old Qiu Bai, a student at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, told Reuters that “40 percent of the psychology and mental teaching materials published in the mainland say homosexuality is an illness.”

The BBC offered some examples, including suggested treatments for homosexuality found in Consulting Psychology published by Guangdong Higher Education Press. According to the text, a gay person can rid themselves of their attractions by inducing “nausea with forced vomiting or fear of electrocution when thoughts of having a lover of the same sex emerge.”

Qiu filed her lawsuit after being ignored by her university, publishers and a provincial court, which refused to accept the case.

The Ministry of Education did not send a lawyer to a hearing held on Monday.

“I think the Ministry of Education must be pretty confident,” Qiu's lawyer, Wang Zhenyu, said. “But we had hoped they would hire a lawyer so we could have a proper professional dialogue.”

“I feel a bit disappointed today,” Qiu said. “The Ministry of Education needs to state publicly its point of view on how to present homosexuality. It needs to at least respond to my petition about these textbook errors and ask publishers to check if they have made similar errors.”

Qiu added she will continue her campaign if she was unsuccessful in her case.