WORLD: China bans online videos showing homosexuality, affairs

By AFP

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banned_w304China issued new regulations on Friday around online video content, directing streaming platforms to eliminate a range of programs in yet another tightening of controls on the Chinese Internet.

Among the films, dramas and cartoons targeted by the China Netcasting Services Assocation’s (CNSA) rules are those “demonstrating ‘abnormal’ sexual relations or acts, such as… homosexuality.”

Online video platforms must hire at least three “professional censors” to watch every program from beginning to end and remove those that do not adhere to “correct political and aesthetic standards,” the regulations said.

Providers are called upon to produce programs that “center on the people and promote socialist values and Chinese culture.”

The new rules come just one week after China ordered a halt to video streaming on three major websites.

According to China’s media oversight body, the platforms — including the massively popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, iFeng.com and ACFUN — did not possess the permits required for providing their audio-visual streams.

Authorities were directed to shut down offending audio-visual services “so as to create a cleaner cyberspace,” China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement last Thursday.

Earlier this month, authorities also closed dozens of celebrity gossip blogs which were described as “catering to the public’s vulgar taste.”

Freedom House, a US-based nonprofit that advocates human rights and democracy, deemed China the world’s “worst abuser of internet freedom” in 2016, pointing to the steady diminishment of online freedom of expression under President Xi Jinping’s “information security” policies.

The country’s heavy web censorship — which blocks sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — is notoriously known as the “Great Firewall.”

The regulations introduced Friday order the cutting or removal of videos that “damage national image, derogate revolutionary leaders, propagate military conquests of ancient emperors or spread religious extremism.”

Violent and pornographic content, as well as those depicting extramarital affairs, prostitution, drug addiction or superstitious behaviour such as “conjuring spirits,” are also banned.

Video providers must “work hard to tell China’s story well,” and “contribute to realising the Chinese dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” the regulations said.

Xinhua state news agency reported that video providers that violate the regulations could be reported to police for investigation.

Weibo users assailed the new rules, with many focusing on the ban on content showing homosexuality.

“What do they mean by ‘abnormal’?” one individual commented. “To think, that you can use such explicitly discriminatory language in a public announcement?!”

An account that helps same-sex couples travel abroad to get married said: “While others are progressing, we’re moving backwards.”

Still others remarked on the rules’ heavy-handed nature.

“The People’s Republic of China is steadily catching up to North Korea… soon we’ll have to sew up our mouths.”

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2 comments

  1. they right at least some people are keeping with morals in society and not the perverted nastiness yall want to bring into the world and come and say yall have rights

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  2. It is interesting to note that there are countries which are sensitive to the concept of "good taste". On the other hand, some of our people, whenever it is convenient, or whenever they want to make some money, will go down to the lowest levels of social theatre, and tell you that this is "culture" and that portrayal of explicit material is no big thing because such portrayals are everywhere--- on TV, on the Internet, etc. But the salient point is that we should not consciously promote these events, just to make a dollar. After all, if explicit sexual material is widespread, why should I pay for you to show me your undisputed version of a sex life that I already know ? What will be the moral of your story ?

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