Weibo reverses homosexuality policy in China: 'We're no longer targeting gay content'


On Friday, Sina Weibo - a microblogging platform with almost 400 million active users, often described as China's Twitter - announced a "clean-up campaign" that would be removing "illegal" content, including "manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence, or (related to) homosexuality".

Even the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily jumped into the discussion, posting an essay promoting LGBT acceptance to its official Weibo account on Saturday. According to the account, a total of 56,243 related violations were already "cleared" at the time they published the notice.

Weibo which has around 350 million monthly users in China has on Friday announced an online clean-up campaign in which it planned to target content related to pornography, violence and and homosexuality.

The vast majority of Chinese citizens don't have access - those that abide by its strict laws, at least - to the same Internet content that the rest of the world does, due entirely to the strict oversight of the Chinese federal government. "Gay people who would not have spoken out years ago are now letting their voices be heard".

The head of Beijing's LGBT Center, Xiao Tie, spoke out Sunday about Weibo's pulling gay content off of its site. One commenter wrote, "The country may be taking another detour, but for many people, it is their life".

Despite China decriminalising homosexuality in 1997, and homosexuality being removed from the government's list of Mental Disorders in 2001, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding same-sex relationships in the country. Since Friday people had been protesting by using hashtags like #Iamgaynotapervert.

"My son and I love our country".

"I am gay and I'm proud, even if I get taken down there are tens of millions like me!", said one poster, who used the handle "rou wan xiong xiong xiong xiong" and posted a photo of himself.

In the southwestern province of Sichuan, a radio host posted a viral video of LGBT rights activists offering free hugs on a busy street while wearing rainbow-printed eye masks.

Another much-repeated post was from a Shanghai woman with a gay son who accused Weibo management of "discriminating against and attacking this sexual minority".

On Monday, the firm said the ban would no longer include gay content.

As reported by WhatsOnWeibo, the site now says: "This time, the cleanup of anime and games won't target gay content". Sina did not respond to a request for comment. Still, some said the company owed gays an apology. - which offers a similar feature-set to Twitter - was inundated with #ImGay and #ImGayNotAPervert posts over the weekend after the website announced a "clean-up campaign".

A third said: "Although I still don't like you, I thank you".

Sina said the campaign is to ensure that the company is in line with online content regulations released in June a year ago that lump homosexuality in with sexual abuse and violence as constituting "abnormal sexual relationships".