China’s most popular social media service has removed accounts on LGBT topics operated by university students and other private groups. This could be linked to the ruling Communist Party’s quest to tighten control over gay and lesbian content.
WeChat sent notice to account holders who violated rules without details, according to the founder of an LGBT group, who pleaded anonymity for fear of possible official attack. Dozens of accounts were shut down, all at about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, according to her.
Although It wasn’t clear whether the action was taken by Chinese authorities, but it coincides with the ruling party’s tightening of political controls and attempts to silence groups that might undermine its rule.
WeChat’s operator, Tencent Holding Ltd., confirmed it received an email seeking comment but didn’t immediately respond.
The Communist Party exempted homosexuality in 1997 as a crime, but gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and other sexual minorities still face scrutiny. Some LGBT activities have been blocked by authorities even as there is more public discussion of such issues ongoing.