China has banned depictions of homosexuality and gay relationships from online video content, classing them as “abnormal sexual behaviours” alongside incest and sexual violence, in strict new regulations.
The new rules by the China Netcasting Services Association also crack down on violent and pornographic content, as well as depictions of prolonged and provocative kissing, extramarital affairs, prostitution, drug addiction and superstitious behaviours such as “conjuring spirits,” according to reports.
The rules require online video platforms to hire at least three professional censors who must view all programmes and remove any that don’t meet “correct political and aesthetic standards.” Officials said content should instead “lead the people to hold the correct historical, ethnic, national and cultural views,” Reuters reported.
Gay Voice, a Chinese-language LGBT magazine, wrote in a social media post translated by Reuters that “the false information in these regulations has already caused harm to the Chinese LGBT community, who already face prejudice and discrimination.”
The country’s notoriously strict online censorship regime – in which sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked – has been dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”.
Popular Chinese web series Addicted (pictured) was removed from Chinese online streaming services last February because of its depiction of a gay couple.