Weibo, a popular Chinese social network, is removing some gay-themed and violent content to its platform as compliance with the new cybersecurity regulations of China. The Twitter-like platform has revealed that it is doing a three-month “clean-up campaign,” which will largely target some “manga (Japanese comics) and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality.” It will also affect some games that have violent content such as the Grand Theft Auto.
The said move has attracted the ire of its users, who organised an online protest that has the hashtag “I am gay.” The hashtag was used approximately 170,000 times before it was ultimately banned by Weibo.
According to AFP, one of the users wrote: “There can be no homosexuality under socialism?
“It is unbelievable that China progresses economically and militarily but returns to the feudal era in terms of ideas.”
In 1997, China decriminalised homosexuality. In 2001, it also declassified it as a mental illness. However, the authorities continue to be cracking down on LGBT-themed content.
Unfortunately, there might be nothing that the users can do to stop the three-month purge of Weibo. Because of the new cybersecurity laws of China, the government can pressure the private entities to censor the content that it deems prohibited. The laws also make it easier for the authorities to keep an even closer eye on the people of the nation. Weibo says that it has already cleared 56,243 pieces of “illegal content” and deleted approximately 108 user accounts since it began. The numbers can only keep increasing as the platform looks for more and more posts to remove during its clean-up campaign.