"The target in this animation game clean up is no longer the homosexual contents, but mainly to clear contents of pornography and violence. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions," stated Sina Weibo's official website on April 16th Beijing time. In other words, the on-going network clearing activity will no longer include homosexual contents.
Sina Weibo is the largest social media in China in addition to serving as a news outlet. On April 13th night, "Weibo Manager" released an announcement stating that they had reviewed the contents of animation games and comics and short videos according to the "Network Security Law" and had removed contents of pornography, violence and homosexuality. They had cleared 56,243 contents of related violations, closed 108 accounts, which violated the law seriously, and 62 related topics. Weibo account "Homosexual Voice", which had 200,000 fans, was one of them.
Such act caused strong protests from the LGBT community in China. On April 13th night, the contents of the topic "I am Homosexual" were widely reposted on Weibo. Many homosexual members posted their photos with hashtags of the topic and a rainbow emoji. The topic received more than 130 million hits on that day and more than 135,000 reviews.
One of the most popular posts came from an activist. In the video of a public event he had posted, a homosexual person wore a rainbow sleep mask and asked for hugs from pedestrians in the street. The level of acceptance from the passersby exceeded his expectance. He wrote in his post, "If I do not say anything today, I may not have the chance to do so in the future."
At the same time, an article titled "Hello, SIN-a, I am Homosexual" was widely spread on the WeChat platform. This post was deleted repeatedly. At the end of the post, the author disclosed his Weibo account and homosexual identity. He wrote: "I was homosexual when I was born. I cannot change and I do not want to change."
On April 15th the People's Daily published an article called "A different firework can also be blooming." In the article, it commented that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should receive respect from the society. However, sexual orientation itself cannot become a propaganda, which may cause the problem of underage sex, pornography, etc.
Prior to this, many social network platforms were forced to clean up, for example, Neihantv, Kusaishou, Huoshanzhibo, Ixigua, etc. These video sharing platforms were closed due to "breaking through the bottom line of social morality and going against the mainstream values of the society".
Homosexuality was no longer designated as "hooliganism" in China since 1997, and was no longer considered a mental illness in 2001. However, the LGBT community is not widely accepted in China.
The homosexual romantic movie Call Me By Your Name was withdrawn from the Beijing International Film Festival. The "General Rules for Reviewing Netcasting Content" issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China in June defined homosexual contents as "abnormal sexual relationship" and specified that such contents are not allowed to appear in film and television.
Although Sina Weibo indicated that they no longer remove homosexual contents, they did not mention short videos. They did not address or unblock the closed accounts and deleted topics.
(Source: Gospel Herald)