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Sina Weibo bans gay content

(Global Times)    08:49, April 16, 2018

3-month drive intends to ‘further clean community environment’

Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo removed or blocked gay-themed content on Friday as part of a campaign to "purify" the online environment, but has triggered controversy.

The main targets include pornographic, violent and gay-themed cartoons, pictures, videos and articles, as well as content such as "slash, gay, boys love and gay fictional stories," according to a notice posted by the administration account of Sina Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like platform with more than 392 million active monthly users.

The three-month campaign is intended to "further make a clean and harmonious community environment" and is "based on laws and regulations, such as the Cyber Security Law," Sina said.

Earlier on Friday, Marvel fans discovered that some hashtag topics related to popular fictional "gay couples" in the cartoon and film universe have been blocked, including "Thorki" and "Stucky" which stand for "Thor/Loki" and "Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes," respectively.

Many fans tend to believe that certain characters, usually of the same sex in some movies, TV series or cartoons have intimate relationships and create "fan fiction" or "fan art" about the "couples."

Topics in Weibo resemble forums on which users can post related content.

The Voice of Gay, a public benefit magazine with 220,000 Weibo followers, announced it would suspend its work "due to force majeure factors," six hours after Sina posted the notice.

The notice had been reposted more than 90,000 times with over 20,000 comments at 2:00 a.m. Saturday. However, the number of reposts has been hidden and the comments function has been closed as of press time.

Under the same campaign, the website will also remove "illegal games and related pictures and videos with violent content, such as Grand Theft Auto, Mercenaries and Mafia."

By 6:55 p.m. Friday, the website announced that it had "cleared up 56,243 unregulated posts, and closed 108 severely unregulated accounts and 62 topics."

Sina Weibo said on Wednesday that in March it deleted more than 1.3 million posts and closed about 85,000 accounts that violated the law.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in January accepted the case brought by Fan Chunlin, a filmmaker, demanding that China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), China's top media regulator, justify the listing of homosexual relations as "abnormal."

The regulation released in June 2017 by the China Netcasting Service Association, a non-government organization administered by SAPPRFT, bans service providers from releasing programs that "present abnormal sexual relations or behavior," such as incest, homosexual relations, sexual harassment and sexual violence. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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