China has released new regulation banning the display of “abnormal sexual behaviors,” including homosexuality, in online video and audio content, Reuters reports.
Published by the China Netcasting Services Association, the new rules, which build upon guidelines first released in 2012, also censor other “obscenity,” “violent and criminal processes,” and content that promotes “luxurious lifestyles.” A group of “auditors” will now review all content posted online to make sure it adheres to “core socialist values.”
As part of President Xi Jinping’s continued efforts to reassert the ruling Communist party’s role in limiting and guiding online communication, approved Chinese content should “sing the motherland, eulogize heroes, celebrate our times in song, and lead the people to hold the correct historical, ethnic, national and cultural view.”
Gay Voice, a Chinese-language LGBT magazine, posts on social media that “the false information in these regulations has already caused harm to the Chinese LGBT community—who are already subjected to prejudice and discrimination.”
China has previously banned homosexuality, as well as other “abnormal sexual relationships” and “inappropriate sexual behavior,” from TV dramas. The wildly popular Chinese web series Addicted, which follows a gay high school couple, was abruptly removed from the internet and streaming services last year.
China’s censors are also notorious for banning LGBT content in film. Brokeback Mountain was famously denied a release, and Chinese moviegoers recently noticed that a same-sex kiss was cut from Alien: Covenant. The first film with gay main characters, Seek McCartney, wasn’t approved in China until 2016, and the underground Beijing Queer Film Festival is frequently subject to police raids and arrests.
Ironically, a Chinese tech company purchased the gay hookup app Grindr earlier this year. Blued, China’s largest gay dating service, has also received a multi-million dollar investment from The Beijing News, a state-run newspaper.