Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

Chinese Social Media Platform Sina Weibo Bans Gay-Themed Content

China's LGBT people came out as a protest against an online ban on gay content. And it worked China's Weibo Just Walked Back A Ban On LGBT Content After Users Protested
Deanna Wagner | 17 April, 2018, 10:36

On Friday, Sina Weibo - a microblogging platform with almost 400 million active users, often described as China's Twitter - announced a "clean-up campaign" that would be removing "illegal" content, including "manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence, or (related to) homosexuality".

Weibo which has around 350 million monthly users in China has on Friday announced an online clean-up campaign in which it planned to target content related to pornography, violence and and homosexuality.

'Thank you everyone for the discussion and your suggestions, ' it said in a statement on its microblog account. The company said the initiative was an effort to "create a sunny and harmonious community environment", in compliance with Beijing's cybersecurity laws.

The post drew more than 24,000 comments, was forwarded more than 110,000 times, and prompted users to protest against the decision, using the hashtag "I am gay".

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

"We are all gay tonight", read a post from the Beijing LGBT Center, featuring photographs of young men and women.

According to a 2016 United Nations survey titled "A National Survey on Social Attitudes towards Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression (SOGIE)", just 15 percent of China's LGBT community have come out to their parents, while only 5 percent are publicly gay.

The company responded on Monday with a further announcement that it wouldn't be targeting "homosexual content".

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According to the state-run Global Times, one of the first groups to detect the heavy hand of censorship were users writing fictional gay relationships between Marvel superheroes, such as Captain America and his sidekick Bucky or Asgardian gods Thor and Loki (who are apparently adoptedbrothers).

The short notice, which was reposted thousands of times, has received an outpouring of public support - with countless users resurrecting an old topic "I am gay" that the page started seven years ago and turning it into a new viral hashtag.

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

Micro-blogging website Weibo has begun a clampdown on content it broadly sees as offensive.

Starting Friday, Weibo users found a block on hashtags related to "slash" fiction - fan's depictions of steamy same-sex pairs like Thor/Loki or Sherlock/Watson. "It's awesome to see this happen now, with everyone - straight or gay, celebrities or ordinary people - using the hashtag and joining in".

Many quoted China's constitution and laws about the protection of minorities.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997.

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