China's Weibo Reverses Ban On Gay-Themed Content

LGBT community fumes as Weibo China's version of Twitter decides to ban gay content

LGBT community fumes as Weibo China's version of Twitter decides to ban gay content

'But today I suddenly [find] that in this strong country, Sina Weibo is discriminating against and attacking this sexual minority'.

Over the weekend, people used hashtags like #IAmGay and #IHaveGayFriends, and many shared selfies and personal stories.

By Sunday the Global Times weighed in, with an item encouraging tolerance toward LGBT people while drawing a line for "vulgar" content that must be removed.

But the Twitter-like platform backtracked on Monday, stating on its administrators' official account: "This clean-up of games and manga is no longer directed at homosexual content, but is primarily to clean up pornographic and bloody, violent content".

China's Sina Weibo will remove gay and violent content, including pictures, cartoons and text posts, during a three-month clean-up campaign, the microblogging platform said.

Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, had said on Friday that it meant to keep the site clear of postings containing homosexual content.

Chinese LGBT advocates hope to promote gay rights by educating society about sexual preferences and pushing back against traditional pressures to marry and have children.

But it added that "even homosexual people are regular citizens" whose affiliated content was not above being subjected to censorship laws against porn and violence.


My son and I love our country. Gay-themed content has been barred from television in the country for years, and a controversial set of guidelines introduced last year introduced a similar ban in the online streaming space.

Sina said the campaign was to ensure that the company was in line with online content regulations released in June past year that lump homosexuality in with sexual abuse and violence as constituting "abnormal sexual relationships".

Hundreds of LGBT people participated in a pride run event in Nanjing on April 14.

The tag "I am gay" was viewed almost 300 million times on Weibo before being censored on Saturday. Guangzhou-based PFLAG China challenged Sina shareholders to divest from the NASDAQ-listed company in response and prominent community leaders lobbied company officials.

One of the writers, Hao Kegui, came out as a lesbian in an open letter published on social media previous year where she described how she had felt pressured into marrying a man to please her parents.

Weibo's vow to cut gay material prompted an unusually fierce backlash from internet users, who said the campaign would worsen discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in China.

"I worry the censorship will cause more people to just live in the closet and never come out".

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