Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

China's Sina Weibo Reverses Ban on Gay Content After User Uproar

China's Sina Weibo Reverses Ban on Gay Content After User Uproar

On Monday, Sina Weibo reversed and said that its clean-up would no longer target gay content. The event had in fact been planned and approved by local authorities before the Weibo ban was announced, but it took on greater meaning as a result of the crackdown, organizers said in a Weibo post (link in Chinese)."This is the kind of day worth remembering for a lifetime", they wrote, adding that Weibo shut down the event's live stream. The post stated that the site would be launching a three-month cleanup targeting "illegal" content, including images, cartoons and videos associated with homosexuality, pornography and violence. Activists circulated slogans like, "My mouth can be muted, but my love can?t be", as per the New York Times.

"This is to further ensure a clear and harmonious society and environment", the network said in its statement, adding that it had already scrubbed more than 50,000 posts by then.

"As the gay community gets stronger, they have started to fight against discrimination", Wei said. Over the weekend, millions showed their support for China's gay community, using the five-character Chinese-language hashtag phrase "wo shi tongxinglian" ("I am gay").

More news: Gift-wrapped: Man City champions as United crash on Guardiola golf day

By late Friday, the hashtags #iamgay and #iamgaynotapervert had gone viral on the service, with users posting photos with their partners, angry comments and rainbow emojis. Before the phrase was banned on Saturday, some 170,000 Weibo users had used it - and it had been viewed almost 300 million times.

The site also reported that a total of 56,243 related violations were erased by the time the notice was published.

It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. A rallying cry by users saw the hashtag "I am gay" also blocked by Chinese internet censors.

More news: Man held for indulging in obscene act at woman's doorstep

"There can be no homosexuality under socialism?" a Weibo user wrote, according to AFP.

The ban on gay content is considered by many as yet another sign of stigmatization against LGBT people in China, more than a decade after the country removed homosexuality from an official list of mental illness. These procedures occurred in some public, government-run hospitals and in private clinics, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

Some saw the Sina Weibo ban as part of a larger trend of sidelining the LGBT community, including a move a year ago by an official media watchdog that deemed homosexual content as "pornographic and vulgar".

More news: Turkey does not stand by any country on Syria: Deputy PM

Following Sina Weibo's announcement, a popular Weibo page called "The Gay Voice" told its 230,000 followers it would cease operations, which in turn sparked a backlash to the new policy.

Like this: