Human rights group Freedom House calls China as the “worst abuser of Internet freedom” on the planet.
A few years ago, the People’s Republic of China waged war on Internet freedom, and the battle is brutal. The latest victim of its outrageous censorship initiative is content featuring same-sex relationships of any kind.
The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) launched a vicious crusade to erase “abnormal sexual activity” from the Internet in Chinese. And, evidently, content depicting same-sex affection of any kind falls into that category. The CNSA outlawed queer content online and asserts that, like adultery and drug abuse, it’s a detriment to society.
According to The Independent, Chinese websites hosting video content must hire at least three “professional censors.” The censors will scan every video for anything the government could deem offensive. If a video doesn’t adhere to “correct political and aesthetic standards,” it will be eliminated, and the government will punish its creators. This legislation went into effect on Friday, June 30, 2017.
LGBTQ content wasn’t the only victim of the latest censorship sweep. Other types of websites considered inappropriate included celebrity gossip blogs and sites that distributed stories about supernatural topics. Also, sites that criticize the government or China’s history in any way are also forbidden.
Leading Chinese sexologist Li Yinhe, reprobated the laws on China’s main social media site, Weibo. He wrote, “First of all, from the perspective of an artist, very few countries in this world set up a censorship system that violates its citizens’ freedom to create arts. Second, it also violates the rights of sexual minorities to express their sexual preference.”
In 1997, China decriminalized same-sex relationships, but it remained on the official list of mental illnesses until 2001. The Chinese government has been conducting homophobic and hateful actions for several years. In 2016, when the government banned LBGTQ characters from television in China.
The 2016 ruling stated that “No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviors.” It then compared same-sex relationships to rape, incest, sexual abuse and sexual violence.