In a move supposedly to comply with China's new cybersecurity laws, the country's version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, began a crackdown last week against material deemed to run counter to socialist ideals. Prominent among the material censored by Weibo were gay-themed texts, games, and anime.
The Cybersecurity Law doesn’t mention LGBT issues, and the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001 removed homosexuality and bisexuality from their list of illnesses. However, a ban on depictions of gay people in online video and audio content was unveiled last year.An on-line protest with the hashtag #IAmGay (wo shi tongxinglian) sprang up immediately against the move, and appears to have succeeded in getting Weibo to recalibrate its censorship. On Monday, Weibo announced:
The China Netcasting Services Association, the industry group that launched the ban, said that gay people have “abnormal sexual relationships” similar to incest or rape.
“This time, the cleanup of anime and games won’t target gay content. It is mainly [meant] to clean up content related to pornography, violence, and gore. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions,” as translated by WhatsonWeibo.Although homosexuality was not specifically mentioned in the 2017 cybersecurity law, Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping are on record including homosexuality as a violation of communist ideology. Rules laid out by the Chinese government last summer provided for censorship of any content published on line or elsewhere that doesn't "adhere to Chinese values."
Programs that undermined a respectful national image, ridiculed leaders, promoted negative or decadent views of life and showed the “dark side” of society would be edited, or in severe cases stopped.So we'll see how long #IAmGay wins out over #IAmPresidentForLife.
President Xi Jinping has overseen measures to clamp down on independent online media, while reasserting the ruling Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion....
The new rules also laid out a range of issues that did not meet with approval, including violence, drug addiction, extramarital affairs and religious cults.
Also on the list was homosexuality, underlining the conservative official view on same-sex relations.