A Pride event in China. | Photo: YouTube
After a viral backlash against its decision to block gay content Chinese social media giant, Sina Weibo, has reversed its decision.
Weibo is a micro-blogging site like Twitter and is China’s most used social media with about 397 million users.
Last week it announced it was cleaning up its platform and would ban homosexual and violent content from the site.
The move came to align with the Chinese Government’s ban on homosexual content online or on film and television. The China Netcasting Services Association which regulates media labelled gay content as ‘abnormal’.
Unhappy with the ban, Weibo users started a viral campaign using the #IAmGay hashtag and gained traction around the world. The hashtag was clicked on more than 300 million times on Weibo alone.
‘This time, the cleanup of anime and games won’t target gay content. It is mainly [meant] to clean up content related to pornography, violence, and gore. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions,’ said Weibo in a statement on Monday (16 April).
Just now Weibo annouced it would not target topic of homosexuality anymore. pic.twitter.com/lNkhnIJFEd
— 吕频Lü Pin (@pinerpiner) April 16, 2018
Weibo announced the reversal on its site with that post getting more than 7,500 comments and forwarded about 33,000 times.
Gay is not porn
Chinese LGBT advocates were angry Weiba had lumped gay content into the same category as violence and porn.
The head of the Beijing LGBT Center, Xiao Tie, said the Chinese government was not necessarily anti-gay, but wasn’t sure how to address LGBT issues. China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997.
‘The problem with the policy is that it equates LGBT content with porn,’ Xiao told Reuters.
‘But the bigger problem is the culture of strict censorship. Social media used to be an open space, but in the last year things have started to change.’