China compares homosexuality to incest, bans it from TV

The country has banned same-sex romance from television, along with witchcraft, smoking and fighting – good times

Chinese censors have banned same-sex romance from TV screens, calling it “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy”. According to a new set of guidelines set up by the China Television Drama Production Industry Association, homosexuality is no longer safe for television – as it apparently helps “exaggerate” the “dark” side of society.

The rules were brought to light after a popular gay high-school drama was inexplicably pulled from all streaming sites in the country last week. In an attempt to explain the sudden move, the alliance referred to the new regulations, which were reportedly brought in at the beginning of the year. They claim that LGBT content – as well as incest, sexual assault and sexual violence – need to be banned from screens, as they all help promote “abnormal sexual relationships and sexual behaviour”. 

If that wasn’t enough, the eight-page document also prohibits TV shows from broadcasting anything that spreads an “unhealthy” message about marriage, or any kind of “love between minors”. This includes affairs, one-night stands and anything that might be considered “stimulating”: like drinking, smoking, fighting and witchcraft. So basically, anything you’ve ever enjoyed in your life.

China’s record on human rights has been famously dire up to now, but these rigid rulings feel a little more ominous. The government’s grip over public morality seems to be tightening, and despite great progress being made by LGBT activists over the last 20 years, the stigma clearly still remains. One poll conducted by US research group Pew last year confirmed this: revealing that 61 per cent of Chinese people still view homosexuality as unacceptable. Let’s just hope that this latest twist doesn’t help to amplify that.