“Homosexual content” banned from online video and live streaming – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for June 30, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

China introduced new regulations for online broadcasting on June 30, further tightening its control over online video programs by banning any content related to homosexuality, superstition, violence, or the jeopardization of national interests, Sixth Tone reports.

The set of guidelines was released by China Netcasting Services Association, the industry body established in 2011 with the approval of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The rules don’t have the force of law, but the organization so far has more than 600 members subject to its scrutiny, including online streaming platforms such as Tencent, Sohu, and Youku, as well as a group of state media such as Xinhua and People’s Daily.

Under the new guidance, at least three auditors should examine all movies, dramas, documentaries, and animations posted online to ensure that they adhere to “core socialist values.” The rules also explicitly ban the description of homosexuality, categorizing it as “abnormal sexual relationships” along with incest, sexual abuse, and sexual violence. Other subjects that are prohibited according to the new regulations include defamation of national heroes, sexually suggestive scenes such as kissing and cuddling, and any content that tarnishes the national image or policies.

The guidelines incited a wave of backlash on the Chinese Internet. Li Yinhe 李银河, one of China’s best known sexologists and sociologists, attacked (in Chinese) the new rules on her Weibo account. “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,” Li wrote. “Second, it also violates the rights of sexual minorities to express their sexual preference.”