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China's Sina Weibo reverses ban on 'homosexual' content

Sina Weibo

Beijing, April 16 (UITV/IANS) - Sina Weibo, one of Chinas largest social media apps, has reversed a ban on online content "related to homosexuality" after an outcry from the countrys netizens, the media reported on Monday.

On Friday, Sina Weibo said that for the next three months it would be removing comics and videos "with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality", the Guardian reported.

The company said the initiative was in an effort to "create a sunny and harmonious community environment" and comply with the country's cybersecurity laws.

In response, outraged Weibo users posted photos with their partners, comments, and rainbow emojis, accompanied by the hashtags #iamgay and #iamgaynotapervert.

Many quoted China's constitution and laws about the protection of minorities.

One internet user referred to article 38 of China's constitution which maintains that the "personal dignity" of Chinese citizens is "inviolable" and that insult directed against citizens is prohibited.

Others pointed out homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997 and in 2001 removed from the government's list of mental disorders, the Guardian reported.

Following the deluge of comments Sina Weibo said on Monday that its campaign will no longer include gay content and would only focus on checking pornographic and violent material.

"Thank you everyone for the discussion and your suggestions," it said in a statement on its microblog account.

Much of China's LGBT community has been forced underground.

Fifteen per cent said they had told their parents, and only 5 per cent had come out publicly, according to a 2016 survey from the UN.

Gay conversion therapy is still used in some public hospitals and private clinics.