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China bans LGBT WeChat groups because… it can?

No specified reason!

China bans LGBT WeChat groups because… it can?
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

New day, new censorship hell in China. Earlier this week, several LGBT WeChat accounts run by university student groups found that they’d lost access.

As per Reuters, the company deleted these accounts without any specific reasons. If you tried to access any of these groups you’d find a notice saying they “had violated regulations on the management of accounts offering public information service on the Chinese internet.” A fathomable reason, indeed.

According to a report from AP, these accounts were taken down on Tuesday at 10PM. It said that universities asked these groups to shut down or remove references to their college’s name a few months before the incident.

The Reuters report noted that in May, the university representatives of the Communist Youth League asked LGBT groups about their loyalty to the country and the party. Plus, it inquired those groups about sources of their funding.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed it from the list of mental disorders in 2001. However, a Human Rights Watch report from 2017 noted that medical institutions used to offer ‘conversion therapy’ even at that time. 

The country has regularly cracked down on LGBT-related content. In 2016, it pulled down an extremely popular gay-themed web drama called Heroin.

Given China’s approach towards minority groups, it’s not entirely surprising that it wants to ban any content that doesn’t fit with its “worldview.”

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