WeChat Removes LGBT Accounts From Chinese Universities In New Crackdown – .

WeChat Removes LGBT Accounts From Chinese Universities In New Crackdown – .

Small toy figures can be seen in front of the WeChat logo in this illustration photo taken on March 15, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

HONG KONG, July 7 (Reuters) – Chinese tech giant Tencent’s social media platform WeChat has deleted dozens of LGBT accounts run by college students, claiming some have broken internet news rules, sparking the fear of a crackdown on gay content online.

Members of several LGBT groups told Reuters that access to their accounts was blocked on Tuesday evening and they later found out that all of their content had been removed.

“Many of us suffered at the same time,” said the account manager of a group that declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“They censored us without warning. We have all been devastated. “

Reuters’ attempts to gain access to some accounts met with a WeChat notice claiming that the groups “had violated regulations on managing accounts offering a public information service on the Chinese Internet.”

The other accounts were not showing up in the search results.

WeChat did not immediately respond to questions sent by email.

Homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder in China until 2001, when it became legal. However, this year a court upheld a university’s description of homosexuality as a “psychological disorder.”

The LGBT community has repeatedly found itself grappling with censors. The Chinese Cyberspace Administration recently pledged to clean up the internet to protect minors and crack down on social media groups considered a “bad influence.”

“The authorities have reduced the space available for LGBT advocacy and civil society in general. It’s another turn of the screw, ”said Darius Longarino, senior researcher at Paul Tsai’s China Center at Yale Law School, which focuses on LGBT rights and gender equality.

The loyalty of university LGBT groups to the government and the Communist Party was discussed at a meeting in May between student groups and academic representatives from the Communist Youth League – a Party-run department for student affairs. Chinese Communist, according to three well-informed sources. of the material.

The sources declined to be identified or to say at which universities the meetings were held, but said the LGBT student groups had been questioned whether they were anti-Party or anti-China, and whether any of their funds came from abroad.

“We explained that our LGBT education work is done only on campus,” a college student told Reuters. “After we met in May, we were dismantled.

LGBT student groups have traditionally not received the support of university authorities in their work to raise awareness in the community, even if they are not outright banned.

Reporting by Pak Yiu Editing by Robert Birsel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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