China’s latest round of censorship is an attack not only on online freedom of speech, but also an attack on the country’s LBGT community. While pornographic content is already banned on China’s internet, this new form of censorship on online LBGT content is more widespread and bans the “portrayal” of abnormality rather than explicit content.
The new Chinese regulations were issued last Friday which originate from the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA. The regulations target “abnormal” sexual activities through video, audio, and streaming services. The regulations are blocking homosexual content and lumping it together with things like incest, sexual abuse, and sexual violence. Additionally, the censorship blocks content that “shows and promotes unhealthy love and marital situations, like extramarital affairs, one-night stands, sexual freedom or wife-swapping and so on.”
The new regulations require that online video service companies must hire professional Chinese censors to review online content and remove anything they deem inappropriate agaisnt “correct” standards.
Critics fear that the new regulations are too far reaching, and that the effects of the regulations may have unforeseen ramifications. Chinese LGBT magazine, Gay Voice,
reports that “the false information in these regulations has already caused harm to the Chinese LGBT community – who are already subjected to prejudice and discrimination.”
China is already not the best place to be “gay”. Homosexuality was legalized in 1997, but until 2001, it was classified as a mental illness. Gay conversion therapy still exists in various clinics in China, and censorship of gay themes is still prevalent as well. You won’t find many gay people in Chinese TV, movies, or other forms of entertainment. The general perception of homosexuality is still underrepresented, as statistics report that only around 15% of Chinese citizens have come out as gay and more than 50% still suffer discrimination.
Rela, a popular Lesbian dating service active in China was shutdown last month without warning, proving that these bans on homosexual content are too restrictive and not just based on explicit content like pornography.
Websites and individuals who fail to comply to the new regulations will be reported to the police for in depth investigation, which means that individuals can get a simple warning, or just disappear completely.
While the Chinese government seems intent on blocking all forms of homosexuality on the Chinese internet, you can still access an unblocked internet with TorGuard VPN. TorGuard uses Stealth VPN to unblock China’s deep packet inspection and VPN block techniques. With 256-AES and Stealth Proxy, you can be sure your internet activity and sexual orientation stay your own business.