When a protest really works
After asserting a ban on gay content material, Sina Weibo has been compelled to reverse course within the wake of that ban being met with protests from tens of hundreds of net customers, who rallied across the viral hashtag: #iamgay.
In a shock announcement final Friday night, Weibo, which is commonly referred to as “China’s Twitter,” declared that over the following three months it might conduct a “clean-up marketing campaign,” focusing on photographs, movies, textual content, and cartoons that associated to pornography, violence, and homosexuality, with a view to guarantee a “clear and harmonious” on-line surroundings.
That announcement was met with shock and disgust by Weibo’s sizeable LGBT neighborhood. Over the weekend, tens of hundreds protested the transfer, using hashtags like #iamgay, #iamgaynotapervert, and #scumbagsinahelloiamgay.
Whereas popping out towards the ban, many additionally included pictures of themselves with their companions or with homosexual members of the family. Listed below are only a few of these pictures:
And some extra:
The preferred of those posts got here from Chinese language LGBT activist Pu Chunmei, who uploaded pictures of herself along with her homosexual son. In her put up, Pu wrote that she and her son had been proud to be Chinese language, however couldn’t stand for this discriminatory assault on minorities.
In one other widespread put up, a Weibo consumer determined that now was the proper time to reupload a video of a social experiment that includes homosexual people standing blindfolded on the street in China with their arms out and sporting a shirt that reads: “I’m homosexual, would you hug me?”
In the meantime, in Nanjing, a gaggle really managed to show a marathon right into a homosexual pleasure parade in protest of Weibo’s resolution, a uncommon sight in China.
Whereas “homosexuality” grew to become probably the most censored time period on Weibo over the weekend and the “#iamgay” hashtag was taken down, many of those pro-LGBT posts had been saved up. It’s not clear if censors had been unable to deal with the deluge of posts, or if that they had already determined to confess defeat.
On Monday, Sina Weibo issued an addendum to its announcement, declaring that its marketing campaign wouldn’t goal gay content material, focusing as a substitute on pornography and violence, and thanking customers for his or her suggestions.
Weibo’s fast backtrack was cheered by netizens, who challenged the corporate to reopen feedback on the unique announcement thread in the event that they actually did admire their suggestions a lot. One Weibo consumer merely commented “#lovewins.”
China has lengthy banned depictions of homosexuality within the media. Final yr, LGBT content material was banned from on-line movies, falling into the class of “irregular sexual habits,” simply because it had the yr earlier than when homosexuality was banned from tv exhibits in China.
In enacting its personal ban, Sina Weibo stated that it was following these official tips towards “vulgar” content material — although, it’s not clear why the social media community determined to take action solely now.
However the transfer appears prone to have been made with a view to get on regulators’ good aspect, as China has launched yet one more crackdown on on-line content material with the principal sufferer being the favored information app Toutiao. Final week, Toutiao CEO Zhang Yiming issued a moderately outstanding apology for internet hosting vulgar content material and violating socialist core values.