Updated 14:17 am 16 April 2018: Weibo has issued a second statement today to exclude gay-themed contents from the three-month purge. Now the “Cleaning Up” campaign only targets vulgar and violent contents.
To comply with China’s new cybersecurity law, the Twitter-like micro-blogging service said that they will launch a three-month “clean-up” campaign to filter comics, games, and related short videos and picture/text posts that involve pornography, violence or homosexuality. 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. Weibo claims that it has removed over 56,000 posts and closed over a hundred accounts involving “illegal” content.
The move sparked online outcry where Weibo users protest with the hashtag “I am gay”, which was used 170,000 times before Weibo ultimately banned it. In addition to gay people, the country’s liberals who were enraged by the crackdown also made their voices heard.
Chinese society, especially the online space, is adopting a more open attitude towards gay culture, resulting in a vibrant LGBT app scene to serve estimated tens of millions of people in the LGBT community in China. Top players in the field include Blued, LESDO, Ahola, and more.