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New Rules for Online Videos in China: “No Displays of Homosexuality”

Recently Chinese authorities have sharpened the regulations for online audio-visual content on sites such as Sina Weibo. In a statement issued by Chinese state media on June 30, regulators lay out new rules for online videos – audio-visual content that shows any “display of homosexuality” will no longer be allowed.

Manya Koetse

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In a statement issued by Chinese state media on June 30, Chinese regulators have laid out new rules for online videos. The regulations say that audio-visual content that shows any “display of homosexuality” will no longer be allowed and will be removed from China’s video platforms. Recently, Chinese authorities have sharpened the regulations for online audio-visual content on sites such as Sina Weibo, where live-streaming was banned last week.

The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA, 中国网络视听节目服务协会) has issued new rules that will further strengthen the regulations of online audio-visual content on Chinese platforms. The rules were released on the official CNSA website on June 30, and disseminated by official media outlets such as China News, Xinhua, Global Times, and others.

Chinese news outlet The Paper reported that one of the new regulations concerns the removal of online content that “displays homosexuality” (“展示同性恋等内容“).

Recently, Chinese authorities have sharpened online regulations. One June 22, regulators halted live streaming on various platforms including Sina Weibo, iFeng and ACFUN. The State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Televsion (SAPPRFT) issued a statement saying the ban came into effect because these sites were “not complying” with existing online regulations and for “promoting negative comments” (“宣扬负面言论的社会评论性节目”).

Weibo responded to the ban with new rules for posting online audiovisual content. According to Technode, users who do not hold a “proper license” may no longer upload audiovisual content, and users who stream movies, TV shows and similar programs will need to hold a permit for public broadcast.

The latest rules issued by Chinese regulators on June 30 concern online audiovisual programs such as online dramas, short clips, online films, cartoons, documentaries, and others.

The rules say that all online content “should adhere to the correct political direction, and strive to disseminate contemporary Chinese values” (“互联网视听节目服务相关单位应坚持正确的政治方向,努力传播体现当代中国价值观念”).

Any ‘programmes’ that are not in line with the regulations will reportedly be deleted. This includes any videos that “are harmful to the country’s image” or, in any way, “endanger national unity and social stability.”

The regulation specifies that “luxurious lifestyles” should not be promoted, and that any detailed manifestations of violence cannot be depicted.

About sexuality, the rules state that online audio-visual content should not “display abnormal sexual behavior, such as incest, homosexuality, sexual perversions, sexual assault, and other sexual violence.” It also specifies that “unhealthy love and marriage situations”, including extramarital affairs or one-night stands, or promiscuity should not be promoted.

The new rules put homosexuality together with incest and sexual perversion as ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’.

On Sina Weibo, netizens respond to the new rules, saying: “Why is homosexuality considered ‘abnormal’?” and “Is this a joke? Are you turning homosexuality into a disease again?”

“I don’t support the politically correct stupid LGBT supporters,” one person says: “But isn’t it a bit feudal to call homosexuality ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’?”

The LGBT Weibo account “Gay Voice” (@同志之声 “Comrade’s Voice”) responded to the latest regulations with the following statement through their official Weibo page:

“This afternoon, the China Netcasting Services Association convened in Beijing with the members of council to consider and adopt the “General Rules for Examining Audiovisual Programs” (网络视听节目内容审核通则), and publish them. In these general regulations, “homosexuality” is described as “abnormal sexual relations and behavior.” This has caused great uproar amongst people in the entertainment industry and among LGBT supporters. Since April 2001, China has already removed homosexuality from the “Standard for Classifying Mental Disorders.” In China, homosexuality is now regarded as a normal sexual orientation, and homosexual relationships and sexual behaviors are just as normal as heterosexual relationships and sexual behaviors, and should not be treated differently. The false information in these regulations has already caused harm to Chinese homosexuals – who are already subjected to prejudice and discrimination. We, as the Gay Voice, along with other LGBT organizations, hereby want to correct the error in these regulations, and hope that the relevant authorities will correct it. We have the legal right to defend ourselves.”

By Manya Koetse
Diandian Guo

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    zinboga

    July 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Fuck you Christian Inc. You own this.

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China Media

Iran “Unintentionally” Shot Down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752

Despite the overall condemnation of Iran, there are also many pointing the fingers at the US, writing: “It’s all because of America.”

Manya Koetse

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First published

Shortly after Iran’s military announced on Saturday that it shot down Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers on board, the topic has become the number one trending hashtag on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

In a statement by the military, Iran admitted that the Boeing 737 was flying “close to a sensitive military site” when it was “mistaken for a threat” and taken down with two missiles.

Among the passengers were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

Earlier this week, Iranian authorities denied that the crash of the Ukrainian jetliner in Tehran was caused by an Iranian missile.

The conflict between US and Iran has been a much-discussed topic on Chinese social media, also because the embassies of both countries have been openly fighting about the issue on Weibo.

Although many Chinese netizens seemed to enjoy the political spectacle on Weibo over the past few days, with anti-American sentiments flaring up and memes making their rounds, today’s news about the Iranian role in the Ukrainian passenger plane crash is condemned by thousands of commenters.

“Iran is shameless!”, one popular comment says. “This is the outcome of a battle between two terrorists!”

“Regular people are paying the price for these political games,” others write: “So many lives lost, this is the terror of war.”

The Iranian Embassy in China also posted a translated statement by President Hassan Rouhani on its Weibo account, saying the missiles were fired “due to human error.”

Despite the overall condemnation, there are also many commenters pointing the fingers at the US, writing: “It’s all because of America.”

Meanwhile, the American Embassy has not published anything about the issue on its Weibo account at time of writing.

The hashtag “Iran Admits to Unintentionally Shooting Down Ukrainian Plane” (#伊朗承认意外击落乌克兰客机#) gathered over 420 million views on Weibo by Saturday afternoon, Beijing time.

Chinese state media outlet CCTV has shared an infographic about the US-Iran conflict and the passenger jet news, writing they hope that these “flames of war” will never happen again.

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Media

The Weibo Battlefield in the US-Iran Conflict: Iranian and American Embassies ‘Argue’ on Chinese Social Media

The US-Iran conflict has extended to Weibo, where Chinese netizens watch the online ‘battle’ unfold.

Manya Koetse

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“Don’t know if you all have discovered it yet, but the Iranian Embassy in China and the American Embassy in China have started to fight on Weibo,” prominent Chinese media outlet 21st Century Business Herald (21世纪经济报道) writes on Weibo on January 10th.

The Iranian and American embassies have been all the talk on Chinese social media this week. While US-Iran tensions are dominating international media headlines, the embassies of Iran and US have been taking their conflict to the Chinese social media platform.

Ever since January 3rd, when the head of Iran’s Quds Force Qasem Soleimani was killed by a US airstrike in Iraq, the Beijing embassies of both the USA and Iran have engaged in an online argument over the conflict between their two countries.

The Iranian Embassy (@伊朗驻华大使馆), that has 254670 followers on its Weibo account, condemned the assassination of Soleimani on January 3rd by reposting and translating a Twitter post by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, calling it a “dangerous and foolish” act of “international terrorism.”

That post received over 23,000 likes and thousands of comments, with many of them showing support for Iran.

The US Embassy Weibo account (@美国驻华大使馆), that has over 2,5 million followers, also posted a response to the attack on January 4 by translating several quotes by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting that the decision to kill Soleimani was the right one and that it made the world a safer place.

Although many of the thousands of netizens responding to the American Embassy’s post praised the attack, there was also a lot of criticism.

“The terrorist group ‘USA’ has claimed responsibility for this act of terrorism,” one popular comment said, with others also pointing the finger at the American government for behaving as ‘terrorists.’

With the deepening of the US-Iran crisis after the Iranian military launched missiles against US bases in Iraq earlier this week, the Weibo posts and comments just keep coming in.

On January 8, the Iranian Embassy wrote that the “end of malign US presence in West Asia has begun,” a sentence also posted on Twitter by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

In between some light-footed Weibo posts about the Golden Globes, the American Embassy published various Weibo posts explaining its stance on the situation. One post of January 7 detailed the “bloody history” of Qassem Soleimani, writing about him as a terrorist and evil man who killed hundreds of people.

The online ‘battle’ between Iran and the US has led to various hashtags, such as “The Weibo Fight of the Iranian and US Embassy of China” (#美伊驻华大使馆微博互斗#), a topic that is receiving a lot of attention on Chinese social media.

The official accounts of two foreign powers’ embassies, discussing their conflict on a Chinese social media platform, in Chinese; it’s not common, and Chinese netizens talk about it while Chinese media write about it.

One sentence* has been reposted dozens of times by Weibo users over the past days: “Here’s the world’s largest imperialist country and the world’s largest theocratic republic, on a social media platform of the world’s largest socialist nation, using Standard Chinese to engage in a fierce diplomatic fight.”

“And we’re all watching and eating popcorn,” one commenter added [literal expression used is “Chī guā qúnzhòng” (吃瓜群众), online expression for “watermelon eating masses,” meaning clueless bystanders watching the situation unfold].

The Weibo battleground has seemingly also turned into a way for the embassies to win the favor of the Chinese public; the Iranian Embassy, for example, published a post on its Weibo account that invites Chinese tourists to visit Iran during the Spring Festival and pinned it to its main page to attract the attention of readers amidst the recent online upheaval.

The online presence of the US-Iran conflict shows the importance of ‘Weibo diplomacy,’ also known as ‘Weiplomacy.’ A large number of foreign embassies in China have a presence on Sina Weibo to engage with local audiences. It is a low-cost, convenient, and seemingly effective tool to promote their countries, political goals, and inform people about their latest activities.

Over the past week, it seems that the majority of Chinese netizens have sided with Iran and condemned the US. This public sentiment, however, might have more to do with the prevailing anti-American sentiments over the past year than a general pro-Iranian stance.

In a 2016 overview of most popular foreign embassies on Weibo, the US embassy scored a number three position with its 1+ million followers, while the Iranian account only came in at number 39 with a mere 6000+ fans on its account.

Although it is unusual for foreign embassies to use Weibo as an online battleground for their offline conflicts, it is not the first time it has happened. In 2014, What’s on Weibo reported how the Beijing embassies of Russia and Poland also argued on Weibo during the aftermath of MH17 crash.

This time around, some netizens conclude that the only one to really ‘win’ in online conflicts such as these is the Weibo platform itself. As the Weibo posts keep going, the ‘melon eating masses’ keep coming. “The Sina Weibo company must be secretly laughing at this ordeal,” one person writes.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

* Chinese sentence: “世界上最大的帝国主义国家,跟世界上最大的政教合一的神权共和国,在世界上最大的社会主义国家的网络平台上,使用标准的汉语进行激烈的外交缠斗”

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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