Social Issues

WeChat removes pro-LGTB accounts run by Chinese students

Beijing, July 7 (EFE).- Chinese social media network WeChat Wednesday removed several accounts run by university students to defend the rights of the LGTB community in the country.

Tech giant Tencent’s social media platform did not explain why it deleted the pro-LGBT accounts, some students who ran the handles said.

Zhihe Society, a feminist collective at Fudan University that works with sexual minorities, confirmed via Weibo, another social network, that their Wechat account was deleted.

“Our account has been permanently blocked,” the group said in a statement.

The group said it was “unlikely” that they would reopen the handle soon.

The SupChina portal said WeChat removed other similar accounts linked to university students in Beijing.

It said the handles were deleted after “complaints” and for “violating regulations on the management of accounts.”

The portal, however, did not offer more details on the nature of complaints and what regulations got violated in running the accounts.

“Is this how sexual minorities should be protected according to the United Nations,” a Weibo user asked.

“It is a huge step back for my country. I am very disappointed,” said another on Weibo, whose entry subsequently disappeared from the social network.

It is common for social networks in China to censor content that the authorities may classify as “sensitive or inappropriate.”

China legalized same-sex sexual activity in 1997, and homosexuality was removed from the health ministry’s list of mental illnesses in 2001.

But discriminatory practices towards the community have continued as the government has failed to offer any support.

A survey carried out in the past among 30,000 members of the LGBT community in China by the United Nations Development Program revealed that around half felt discriminated against due to their sexual orientation.

The perception gets strengthened by the attitude of the Chinese government, whose audiovisual regulator in mid-2017 included homosexuality on a list of prohibited subjects on the internet for showing “abnormal” lifestyles and behavior. EFE


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