Eurovision 2018 Banned from Chinese Network
By Faith Magbanua, May 14, 2018 02:05 AM
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has forbidden one of China's most popular TV channels from airing the Eurovision song contest after it censored LGBT elements of the competition.
Meanwhile, Mango TV was vastly criticized on social media for seemingly blurring rainbow flags and censoring tattoos during Tuesday's first semi-final episode.
In addition, it also decided not to air performances by the Irish and Albanian entries.
The EBU said the censorship was not in line with its values of diversity, and according to Media Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy, he thought that it was solely EBU's move.
"It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final," it said in a statement.
The performance by Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy featured two male dancers enacting a gay love story, while Albanian singer Eugent Bushpepa can be seen to be heavily tattooed.
Homosexuality in China still remains Taboo
Often differentiated in China, homosexuality is a very sensitive topic in the country. For starters, homosexuality has been greatly discriminated more than two decades ago but conservative attitudes still prevail in many parts of the country.
However, some activists say there has been a recent effort to sideline the LGBT community. Last month, Chinese social media network Sina Weibo backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.
In 2016, the Chinese authorities banned depictions of gay people on TV as part of a crackdown on "vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content". A number of Chinese gay dating apps have also been shut down.
There has also been a crackdown in China on tattoos and other sub-cultures. Media regulators have reportedly banned tattooed actors, and members of the Chinese national football team wore bandages over their arms and legs to conceal tattoos during a match in March.
A number of verified Weibo accounts shared still images of the censored performances.
One account, The Voice of Homosexuality, said the broadcaster's decision to remove references to homosexuality was a "major step backwards".
Other Weibo users called for people to "boycott Mango TV," and one user said they "absolutely won't be watching Mango TV next month".
China and Homosexuality
Homosexuality in China has been documented in the country since the ancient times. According to one study, homosexuality was regarded as a normal facet of life in China, prior to the Western impact of 1840 onwards.
Although not everyone has an open mind towards the LGBT issue, there are people who are accepting to change. However, homosexuality in China still remains taboo up to this day.
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