Sexism and censorship have been common issues in modern China and those of us based in the Middle Kingdom were quick to point out to local audiences how that distortion of news affected our freedom of speech, something we’ve seen repeated time and again in China as the central government has attempted to fine tune the nation’s censorship rules.
But maybe now the Chinese government will learn their lesson and let us speak freely without being criticized for our opinions?
China’s nightly talk show host Jingxian, the first woman with Chinese subtitles in television, announced on Thursday her boycott of Twitter, a move that’s backed by her husband, YoukuTV’s CEO. Jingxian, or “Jing Ke,” proclaimed her intention to boycott the popular social media platform over a series of tweets she made Monday calling attention to the harassment and discrimination she has faced in China for not being able to find a partner to marry in Chinese society.
Jingxian’s husband reported his wife’s tweets to the authorities because the comments she expressed were critical of a certain United States-based Internet giant and the company’s global ambitions, she said.
It appears that the tweet that caused this #metoo controversy started during a back-and-forth over the gay community’s role in the social change in China over the past two decades. The country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and some feminists, have focused their efforts on getting marriage equality in China in recent years, but it is simply still not legal there.
In the post, Jingxian said that it wasn’t about getting any partner to marry her, but was rather about helping those within the gay community find ones who truly appreciate them.
“There are many guys who chase girls,” she wrote. “It’s good to go on a date with them, but there is no sincerity in this kind of relationship.”
The top tweet was retweeted nearly 90,000 times, and her boyfriend took it upon himself to post a response. The tweet appeared to show his actual Twitter account and include his personal identification.
“An internet woman is just as nice as anyone else,” the Youku CEO said.
His answer to her comment drew criticism from many other Twitter users. “Having sex with a man is as good as finding a lover,” read one Twitter post that made its way to Weibo, the platform behind Twitter in China.
The revelations of China’s censoring and attempt to silence Jingxian’s dissent have sparked a backlash on Weibo and Twitter in China and are sending a message to both the Chinese and American governments that something is wrong with their censorship policies. It’s looking like that censorship may be coming to an end in China.