weibo

China’s Messaging Platform Weibo Bans, Then Unbans Gay Content After Outrage

Politics  

In today’s installment of “WTF is going on in China,” the country recently banned and then un-banned a bunch of gay content on its messaging platform Weibo, which is essentially Twitter but with less Donald Trump rants.

After announcing on Friday that it would soon purge “pornographic, violent and gay-themed cartoons, pictures, videos and articles” from the messaging service, the social media giant was inundated with a series of complaints and even a trending hashtag of #IAmGay and #IAmIllegal, to which it responded by immediately reversing the ban. It was a surprise move by a country that will soon literally ban citizens from public housing and transportation if they criticize the government or forget to recycle. “Changing policy over a popular hashtag” is not the sort of behavior you’d associate with a country known for oppressing its people.

And speaking of Chinese censorship, the country also pulled Call Me By Your Name from the lineup at the Beijing Film Festival last month, presumably because of all the implied gay sex in it. (Or maybe peaches are considered sacred in China.) This, of course, was at odds with local Chinese censors’ decision to “keep the gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast last year — which, as we know, didn’t so much imply gay sex as it did indirectly reference it as an abstract concept.

Considering there are about 70 million LGBTQ people on the Chinese mainland, it seems as if the growing country would be best served listening to their needs and working on behalf of them. Otherwise, it will soon end up with a giant uptick in public criticism of the government (at least 70 million strong, in fact), and will have to start banning more people from public transportation than it can handle.

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