Rare win for China's LGBT community after censorship U-turn by Sina Weibo

Weibo says the three-month campaign will target 'illegal&apos gay and violent content

Sina Weibo is a publicly traded company that depends in large measure on advertising and marketing for revenue. The posting was viewed almost 6.5 million times.

The "clean-up" was announced on April 13, and included the censorship of "bloody violence", cartoon, images, as well as homosexual and pornographic material, according to independent site What's on Weibo. Activists circulated slogans like, "My mouth can be muted, but my love can?t be", as per the New York Times.

The widely discussed "gay moment" in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast was allowed to run uncensored in Chinese cinemas a year ago, and state newspaper The People's Daily even celebrated the decision on Weibo, posting: "Controversial gay moment kept in Disney's #BeautyAndTheBeast. requires no guidance for minor audience". The statement added that the crackdown covers all contents related to "gay" and "danmei (耽美), China's version of what is often called "slash" fiction".

'We must pressure these companies and show them it's not easy to discriminate against an entire community - no matter who orders them to do it'. By late Friday, the hashtags #iamgay and #iamgaynotapervert had gone viral on the service, with users posting photos with their partners, angry comments and rainbow emojis. More than 170,000 people used the "I am gay" hashtag before they were shut down mid-day on Saturday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

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China's LGBT community and their allies responded immediately to the announcement with hashtag campaigns, with the declaration #我是同性恋# (I am gay) reaching almost 300 million views before it was blocked on Saturday.

The site attempted to crack down on the protest by deleting posts and censoring words such as "gay". And few minutes later, they delete them, our articles, our statement, disappear in few minutes.

Homosexuality has not been criminalised in China since 1997, yet as the Economist explains, Chinese officials are far from amenable to assertions of rights by any societal group and even went so far as to ban "the depiction of homosexuals on television - not that there were many in the first place".

Most Western social networks including Facebook and Twitter are banned for Chinese citizens, though many people simply find ways around blocking software such as VPNs. These procedures occurred in some public, government-run hospitals and in private clinics, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. But an outcry over the weekend appears to have changed Weibo's stance. Still, some said the company owed gays an apology. "Gay people who would not have spoken out years ago are now letting their voices be heard".

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