Although progress has been made in the recognition of the rights of the LGTB community, much remains to be done. Although it may seem difficult to believe, there are still groups and companies that are not only unwilling to support the causes of this group but also want to silence them. Apparently, this is the case of the Chinese app WeChat that censored groups that defend LGBT rights.
According to the complaints, the social network WeChat, one of the most important in China, this week deleted several accounts of Chinese students who defend the rights of the LGBT community. Through the internet, the censored users assured that the action had been carried out without giving detailed explanations about it.
And it not only affected people who support the LGBT community, the Zhihe Society, a feminist collective at Fudan University that works with sexual minorities, confirmed through Weibo, another social network, that their Wechat account had been deleted. "Our account has been permanently blocked," the group said in a statement, in which it predicted that it would be "unlikely" that they could reopen it in the near future.
Group pages on WeChat, including Huazhong University of Science and Technology's Gay Pride and Peking University's ColorsWorld, were suppressed, and instead, a message appeared stating that " content has been blocked and usage of the account was suspended ". Subsequently, the SupChina portal denounced that other similar accounts linked to students from Beijing universities have also been eliminated.
The reason given by the company for the measure is that it had received multiple " complaints ", in addition to the fact that users had "violated the regulations in the administration of accounts", without offering further details.
Despite the fact that China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, stopped considering it a mental illness in 2001, and allows same-sex marriage, the reality is that discriminatory attitudes towards this group still persist. In fact, according to a survey by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that was conducted in 2016 and interviewed 30,000 people from the Asian country who belong to the LGBT community, half said they feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
So far Tencent, the owner of WeChat, has not responded to questions about blocking these accounts.
Reactions to the situation
When the elimination of the accounts became known through the internet, several users began to speak out against the measure.
"Is this how sexual minorities should be protected, according to the United Nations?" Asks a Weibo user in the Zhihe Society publication.
"It is a huge step backward for my country. I am very disappointed," commented another netizen on Weibo, whose post subsequently disappeared from the social network.
Likewise, the other WeChat users who were not affected by the blocking of pages circulated the lists of the suppressed accounts and called an online protest. However, many of his messages were deleted only a few hours after being published on the social network.
Despite the complaints, it must be said that it is common for social networks in Asian country to censor content that the authorities may classify as "sensitive or inappropriate ." Even previously, the disclosure of LGTB content in foreign video and movie streaming applications was prevented.