China’s Weibo re­v­erses ban on homosexual con­tent af­ter out­rage

The Asian Age - - Front Page -

Bei­jing, April 16: One of China’s top so­cial net­work­ing sites an­nounced on Mon­day that it will no longer be cen­sor­ing con­tent re­lated to gay is­sues af­ter the plan trig­gered a loud pub­lic out­cry.

Weibo. com was flooded over the week­end with the hash­tags such as “# I’mGay” and “# I’mGayNo­taPervert” af­ter the Twit­ter- like plat­form said that car­toons and short videos with porno­graphic, vi­o­lent or gay sub­ject mat­ter would be in­ves­ti­gated over a three- month pe­riod.

The mi­croblog­ging site, which saw its Nas­daq shares fall on Fri­day, said in its amended post: “This clean- up of games and car­toons will no longer tar­get gay con­tent.” A com­pany spokesman re­fused to clar­ify how the plat­form would treat short videos with gay con­tent.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will in­stead “pri­mar­ily fo­cus on porno­graphic and vi­o­lent ma­te­rial,” Weibo’s state­ment said. “Thank you every­one for your dis­cus­sions and sug­ges­tions.”

Reg­u­la­tors ratch­et­ing have been up con­trol over Chi­nese mi­croblogs in re­cent months, or­der­ing op­er­a­tors like Weibo to set up a mech­a­nism to re­move false in­for­ma­tion af­ter crit­i­cis­ing it for al­low­ing pro­hib­ited ma­te­rial to spread. It was the lat­est of new mea­sures im­posed by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s govern­ment to tighten con­trol over what China’s pub­lic can see and say on­line.

The Cy­berspace Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China, the coun­try’s in­ter­net reg­u­la­tor, has not com­mented yet. While ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is not il­le­gal in China and few Chi­nese have re­li­gious ob­jec­tions to it, a tra­di­tional, con­ser­va­tive pref­er­ence for con­ven­tional mar­riage and child­bear­ing cre­ates bar­ri­ers for LGBT peo­ple.

— AP

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