Depictions of homosexuality have been banned from online videos in China in the country’s latest attempt to wipe the internet clean of “vulgar” and “unpatriotic” content.
In the new guidelines, homosexuality falls into the category of “abnormal sexual behavior,” along with incest and sexual violence, one of 84 banned categories. Other things you will no longer be able to see on Chinese online videos include, but are not limited to: prolonged kissing scenes, extramarital affairs, mocking of revolutionary heroes, luxurious lifestyles, promiscuity, Chinese imperialism and the portrayal of ethnic tensions.
The guidelines were passed on Friday by the China Netcasting Services Association and apply to all original audiovisual content online, asking that before being broadcast they should be reviewed by an auditor to make sure that the work adheres to “socialist core values” and does not “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”
While the guidelines are not technically legally binding, the association does comprise most of China’s biggest online publishers including state media outlets like Xinhua and internet giants like Tencent and Youku. They also follow increased crackdowns on online content by Chinese regulators, particularly focused on reining in popular video and streaming platforms.
The guidelines also look very similar to a set of rules put into place last year by China’s top media watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT), which banned types of “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” from television shows, including homosexuality which was similarly termed “abnormal sexual behavior.” Just before those rules went into effect, a popular teen romcom which explored themes of gay romance was removed from the web.
According to Sixth Tone, some believe that these new guidelines will not have much effect simply because they will be too hard to enforce. However, they come as yet another blow for China’s LGBT community who have been fighting for larger voice in recent years, only to be silenced again and again.
What’s on Weibo notes that the guidelines coming into effect on the same day that Germany legalized same sex marriage was simply too much to take for some netizens.
“In Taiwan, gay marriage is legalized. In Germany, gay marriage is legalized. In China, homosexuality is ‘abnormal sexual behavior,'” some commenters on Weibo wrote.
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