Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media sites, has reversed a ban on content “related to” homosexuality.
The Twitter-like site, which has about 400 million active users, announced the clean-up campaign last Friday with new guidelines that cracked down on LGBTQ content, as well as violent and pornographic material. Weibo said the new initiative was a way to “create a sunny and harmonious community environment.”
But activists then launched their own campaign to fill the microblogging site with gay content, by making #iamgay and #iamgaynotapervert trend. Many of the posts included photos of couples and rainbow emojis.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, one Weibo post that was liked tens of thousands of times said: “I am the mother of a gay son. My son and I love our country. No matter where we go we tell others loudly and proudly that we are from China.... But today…I suddenly [find] that in this strong country, Sina Weibo is discriminating against and attacking this sexual minority.”
Hua Zile, founder of the popular Weibo page “The Gay Voice,” told CNN: “Seven years ago, not that many people were willing to make their voices heard this way... It’s amazing to see this happen now, with everyone—straight or gay, celebrities or ordinary people—using the hashtag and joining in.”
Weibo reportedly first tried to delete some of the posts, but eventually caved to public pressure and announced it would not target homosexual-related content in its new clean-up campaign.
Weibo posted a statement on its website, responding to the about-face: “We thank all for your discussions and suggestions.”