The Chinese version of Twitter is a micro-blogging site called Weibo which has some 400 million users (25% more than Twitter) that has since yesterday fallen prey to some restrictions as the ‘Great Chinese Firewall’ attempts to clean up both violent and gay content.
Yesterday morning, when the changes were at first applied, several known homosexual users decried the move and launched the soon very popular hashtag #Iamgay which by noon got 130 million views and some 153,000 comments.
Then the Chinese government blocked also that hashtag. To bypass the strict censorship, some of China’s youth then started switching from #Iamgay to #Iamillegal.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chinese social network Weibo is banning gay content. People are protesting today using the hashtag <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/%E6%88%91%E6%98%AF%E5%90%8C%E6%80%A7%E6%81%8B?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#我是同性恋</a> (<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/iamgay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#iamgay</a>). Some screenshots from the app. <a href="https://t.co/bzFKhjIo8G">pic.twitter.com/bzFKhjIo8G</a></p>— Erwin Vogelaar 🦄 (@ErwinVogelaar) <a href="https://twitter.com/ErwinVogelaar/status/985086959092748288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">14 April 2018</a></blockquote>
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The clean-up operation is just the latest sign of the Communist Party rulers of China to try and return to the ‘core values’ of socialism, a move initiated by President for life Mr Xi Jinping.
Many users protested against the move, with comments ranging from: "You want to shut my mouth, but you can only delete my account," to "as a member of this group, I am proud, I am glorious … I refuse to be discriminated and misunderstood."
Last week, China stopped the online sale of bibles (see our related coverage).
Furthermore, news website, Toutiao, was slapped on the wrist this week for allowing users to make lewd jokes in the comments sections to articles, something the Chinese Communist Party frowns upon. Toutiao promised to clean up its act or face closure of the site.