Gay websites shut down in 'clean-up'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 June, 2006, 12:00am
 

A mainland internet domain-name registration company has purged several influential homosexual websites under pressure from police in a crackdown on 'illegal content'.


At least three gay forums have been closed down in the ongoing 'clean-up' process. The forums, all second-level domain names under the Ful.cn address, include tzgay.ful.cn with 100,000 hits per day, and chinagay.ful.cn, a burgeoning sex education organisation which has attracted 400,000 visits since its establishment in February.


Some other forums have begun filtering gay content themselves in order to pass censorship restrictions, with Fjtz.ful.cn deleting all its gay-related sections and changing its forum's name from 'Fujian Tongzhi', a popular Chinese term for homosexual, to 'Fujian Comprehensive Forum'.


'Because some users have violated the regulations and put the Ful forum in crisis several times, [we have] now decided to clean up the Ful forum thoroughly, and hereafter improve the forum's taste and avoid low-level [content] and vulgarity,' an announcement posted on the website said.


Sources said the reason for the closure was that the Ful domain had been suspended twice by the Ministry of Public Security, in April and June, for hosting pornographic websites.


Forums containing 'pictures of pretty girls, sex videos, topics concerning the two sexes, and political topics' were among those to be deleted, the announcement said.


One of the administrators of the closed forums said he was appalled by the company's censorship criteria: 'It is a great humiliation to classify all gay forums under ful.cn as pornography, adult-only, and sex forums.'


He argued that one of the most popular sections of his forum was dedicated to sex education, and provided methods for condom usage and HIV knowledge surveys for homosexuals.


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