China: Chinese gay video ban sparks online backlash

On Chinese social media, many were left angry, baffled, and upset:

"Aren't people born equal? ... What right do you have to discriminate against others?" said one. Another commented: "Aren't homosexuals normal? Why do you push them to a corner?"

The outcry was prompted a decision by Beijing regulators to censor the portrayal of homosexual activity in online videos. The regulations, which came into force at the beginning of July, classify homosexuality as "abnormal" sexual behaviour and cover not only explicit sexual content but any portrayal of same-sex relationships, positive or negative - for instance in popular online dramas.

On Weibo, the hashtag "Online Content Review Discriminating [Against] Gays" was viewed by millions and generated thousands of comments. And while the decision sparked the biggest backlash from Chinese social media users, the censorship extends further.

There are 84 categories of material that were banned from online video programmes by Chinese censors, including prostitution, drug addiction, extra-marital affairs and what authorities deem to be "unhealthy" views of the family, relationships and money. The guidance stipulates that all online content should help "realize the China dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation." 

One prominent voice who has criticised Chinese government censorship is Li Yinhe, China's first female sexologist and a well-known commentator on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues.

"To [the government], homosexuality is regarded as obscene," she says, adding that the LGBT community is "very angry."

Li Yinhe tells BBC Trending radio that when she recently wrote a piece calling on the government to end the censorship mechanism entirely, the article was taken down by Weibo censors just a few hours after publication.

"Well, this is the reality in China," she says. Read more via BBC