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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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China Media

Girl Brings 23 Relatives on Blind Date, Dinner Bill Comes Down to 20,000 Yuan

The girl said she wanted to test out the generosity of her date.

Manya Koetse

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Image via Qilu Evening News

An expensive blind date has become top trending on Chinese social media platform Weibo, after a girl allegedly brought 23 of her relatives and friends to the dinner. The restaurant bill was 20,000 yuan – close to 3000 USD.

According to China Newsweek Magazine (中国新闻周刊), a man by the name of Xiao Liu had asked the young woman out for dinner, saying it would be his treat. The girl then unexpectedly showed up with an entire crew, saying it was to “test out” Liu’s generosity.

Xiao Liu is a 29-year-old man from Zhejiang province. Struggling to find the time to date with his busy work schedule, Liu’s mother hired a matchmaker to find a suitable potential girlfriend for her single son. The incident happened during a date that was set up by this matchmaker.

The story was originally published by local media outlets Taizhou Evening News (台州晚报) and Qilu Evening News (齐鲁晚报) on WeChat. These sources report that Liu took off without paying once he saw the restaurant bill, quickly turning off his cellphone afterward.

Since Liu left the ‘dinner date’ without paying, the woman was stuck with the bill.

In an attempt to solve the situation with Liu later on, the young woman said she was “willing to go Dutch” on the bill. Liu refused but was still willing to pay the 4398 yuan bill (660 USD) for two tables, leaving the girl with the rest of the 15,402 yuan bill (2305 USD).

The girl reportedly turned to her relatives for help in paying the bill. Screenshots of the WeChat group chat were apparently leaked online, with some group members showing unwillingness to share in the high bill, saying that they did not smoke nor drink and just had a bite to eat – and that it was her who invited them in the first place.

On Weibo, the topic attracted 260 million views on Tuesday, with most commenters siding with Liu and condemning the girl.

Despite the online interest in the topic, there are also some netizens doubting whether or not the story is real. Although screenshots were shared by online media, the actual source of the story remains unknown. It is also not disclosed where or when the incident took place.

The fact that the story was also shared by some official (local) media makes people think that perhaps it was just posted as clickbait.

“Even an idiot would never bring 23 people to a date,” some commenters say.

It is not uncommon for these kinds of interpersonal incidents to go viral on Chinese media.

In 2016, one Shanghai girl was so disappointed about what her boyfriend’s parents served her for Chinese New Year, that she ended her relationship because of it. The story went mega-viral, reinforcing the ‘demanding leftover woman’ media cliché.

By Manya Koetse

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

“America’s Gone Insane” – Chinese Consulate in Houston Ordered to Close

News of the Chinese Consulate on Houston being ordered to close by the US is top trending on Weibo today.

Manya Koetse

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First published

The US-ordered closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston has become a top trending news topic on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo today, with the “Houston Consulate” (#休斯敦领事馆#) hashtag receiving over 230 million views on Wednesday night, Beijing time.

One hashtag page, hosted by People’s Daily, repeats the words of China’s new Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who stated that “Ameria’s abrupt request to close the Chinese consulate in Houston on July 21st” is a “political provocation unilaterally initiated by the American side that seriously violates the international law and goes against the basic norms of international relations.”

News of the closure of the Houston consulate first started making its rounds when American local media reported that documents were allegedly being burned inside the consulate compound. The Houston fire department responded to reports of smoke and arrived at the scene.

Hours later, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to these reports and stated, as reported on Weibo as well, that the Consulate had received a sudden eviction notice.

On Wednesday, the US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed that the US had ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”

The alleged burning of documents inside the consulate compound is also reported by Chinese state media outlets such as The Observer, although they only report that people in the vicinity of the consulate stated that they “saw smoke coming from the compound” and that they could “smell paper burning.”

“Perhaps it’s the smell of war,” one Weibo user wrote.

“They’re destroying their documents, it’s normal,” some commenters said: “They can’t take [the documents] with them.”

The Chinese Consulate in Houston was opened as the first Chinese consulate in the US in 1979, shortly after the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping visited the city in January of that year.

The Houston consulate was the office serving Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Besides the Chinese Embassy in Washington and the Houston consulate, there are also four other Chinese consulates in the United States, in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin (胡锡进) called the move to have the consulate closed “crazy” in a post on his Weibo account, that has approximately 23,2 million followers.

“Not only did the American side order to have the consulate closed,” he writes: “they also only gave the Chinese side three days to evacuate [the compound], this is completely deranged.”

“Has America gone crazy?”, some Weibo users wonder, with others wondering: “Is this meant to break off diplomatic relations with China?”

In response to the news, many commenters suggest that China should retaliate by also closing an American consulate in China. Besides its Beijing embassy, the US also has consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Wuhan in mainland China. There is also a U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.

There are currently also reports by Reuters, New York Times, and other media indicating that China may shut the American Wuhan Consulate.

“It would be best if the Hong Kong consulate were to close,” multiple commenters on Weibo write (“最好把美国香港领馆关了”).

“America has gone insane,” one person writes: “This year, any kind of historical event could happen.”

By Manya Koetse

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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