China’s online regulator has released new guidelines that prohibit gay content—placing it in the category of “abnormal sexual behaviour” alongside incest and sexual violence.
The China Netcasting Services Association announced that all original online audio visual content (web series, short films, cartoons, and documentaries) must be audited before broadcast to ensure they adhere to “socialist core values”.
Content uploaded online must not promote luxurious lifestyles, excessive kissing, masturbation or anything that might “hurt the feelings of the nation”.
“It’s so harmful to the industry and the culture,” queer filmmaker Fan Popo told Sixth Tone.
“Obviously now the government has realised how powerful the internet can be, they want to manage it more than ever.”
The filmmaker posted a comment on his Facebook page in regards to the ban saying: “See what China is doing when Germany just legalised same-sex marriage. #cantbeproudofourcountry.”
Another Facebook user commented: “What does sexuality have to do with class struggle? This really blows my mind.”
Fan—who has directed LGBT+ documentaries such as Mama Rainbow (about the mothers of gay and lesbian children)—added that he is hopeful that the guidelines will not be as strict as they sound.
“There are a lot of regulations in China that are not seriously enforced,” he said.
“Otherwise it will affect a lot of online videos — including mine, which would be deleted for their LGBT content.”
In May this year, a popular lesbian dating app—Rela—was shut down after the company supported parents of LGBT+ children in finding a partner at the Shanghai marriage market.