China’s New Media Regulations Bring Anger, Heartbreak to LGBT Community

New Chinese regulations are published banning the depiction of gay couples on television.

[DIGEST: NBC, CNN, Global Times, New York Times, The Independent]

As part of a crackdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content,” the Chinese government has banned depictions of gay people on television. According to censors, storylines that include gay relationships “exaggerate the dark side of society.”

The regulations were compiled by the China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television late last year. However, the regulations were only widely publicized in Chinese state media this month.

The new rule comes in the wake of the Chinese government’s move to pull a controversial show called Addicted Heroin, about the romance between two high school boys, from video streaming sites in China. The show can only be viewed on YouTube, which is blocked in China. Other shows featuring gay characters have also been pulled recently.

Credit: Source.

The abrupt exit of Addicted Heroin from viewing platforms provoked strong outrage in social media channels. Online discussions hashtagged with “#removalofAddiction” generated over 110 million hits in just two days on a Chinese twitter-like site called Sina Weibo. The writer of the series, Chai Jidan, complained that there was “no reason” for the removal: “It’s a result of the broader context.”

The official Chinese report has generated even more outrage online. “What year are we living in, how are we still openly discriminating against homosexuality?” asked one anonymous internet user.  

Another anonymous commenter stated “How is homosexuality considered abnormal? I cannot understand this.”

Gay relationships are not the only ban under the regulations. The eight-page report also forbids depictions of the supernatural, content “showing or promoting an unhealthy state of marriage,” depictions

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