China’s Weibo reverses ban on homosexual content after outrage
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.