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Did you know that China has banned depictions of gay people on TV?

The world’s most populated country has, since 2016, banned depictions of gay people on Chinese TV.

Ben Mitchell And Paul Coker kiss
Scenes like this kiss in EastEnders between two men would be banned in China. CREDIT: (C) BBC Kieron McCarron

China has a raft of strict regulations on what its people can see, download and transmit. Even porn is forbidden in the country and its citizens have been offered money, lots of it, for turning in to the authorities those who are suspected of viewing or hosting the content.

However, even darker and more problematic is that the depiction of gay people is forbidden and the language used in that enforcement is incredibly worrying. In fact the ruling saying that content that ‘exaggerates dark side of society’ is banned. This includes homosexuality, but also adultery, earrings on males and even, yes, cleavage.

In fact, it was reported that an earring was blurred on a reality TV show because the contestant, Jing Boran, is male.

“Vulgar and Immoral”

Even the relationship and first gay kiss in Star Trek between Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Chief Medical Officer Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) would be banned in China.

The Chinese government’s ban is part of a crackdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” and was first reported in 2016 and is nothing more than a government-backed, systematic cleansing of gay people from society.


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The government outlines that TV shows shall not “show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviours, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on.”

This ban, according to the Guardian includes smoking, drinking, adultery, sexually suggestive clothing, even reincarnation.

This clampdown on content has increased since Xi Jinping, China’s president, came into power in 2012.

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This means that content readily available in many countries across the globe that incorporate same-sex relationships would be forbidden. In fact, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and the BBC’s iPlayer are not available to view in China.

At a time when relationships that stray away from the normative, like the same-sex relationship in Netflix’s Star Trek Discovery or even a same-sex kiss in EastEnders may never actually be seen in China.

In April 2018, Sina Weibo, China’s largest social network said it would remove “homosexual” content from its platform. Sina Weibo said in a statement that it had begun a “clean-up campaign” to remove “illegal” content, including “manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality”.

Weibo reversed its ban, but only after a huge backlash against the platform.

 

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