Chinese gay video ban sparks online backlash
China life / July 17, 2017

A crackdown on a wide range of internet videos by Chinese censors has caused a backlash on the country’s popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, with many users objecting to a decision to ban content which features same-sex relationships. On Chinese social media, many were left angry, baffled, and upset: “Aren’t people born equal? … What right do you have to discriminate against others?” said one. Another commented: “Aren’t homosexuals normal? Why do you push them to a corner?” The outcry was prompted a decision by Beijing regulators to censor the portrayal of homosexual activity in online videos. The regulations, which came into force at the beginning of July, classify homosexuality as “abnormal” sexual behaviour and cover not only explicit sexual content but any portrayal of same-sex relationships, positive or negative – for instance in popular online dramas. On Weibo, the hashtag “Online Content Review Discriminating [Against] Gays” was viewed by millions and generated thousands of comments. And while the decision sparked the biggest backlash from Chinese social media users, the censorship extends further. There are 84 categories of material that were banned from online video programmes by Chinese censors, including prostitution, drug addiction, extra-marital affairs and what authorities deem to…