WeChat, the most popular social networking service in China, deleted accounts on LGBT issues maintained by university students and non-governmental groups.
The platform sent account administrators a notice that they were violating the rules, but did not provide further details, according to the founder of one of the LGBT groups, who asked not to be identified in an AP article for possible retaliation by the government.
It is still not clear if this decision was ordered from the executive, but it comes at a time when the government tightens political controls and tries to silence groups that could criticize it.
The same source pointed out that the official attitude is increasingly strict.
The content of the WeChat accounts that included personal stories and photos of collective events were deleted, according to the founder of the LGBT group.
She also noted that a few months ago, university officials asked students to shut down LGBT groups on social media or try not to mention the names of their institutions.
Thus, some universities in Jiangsu province were instructed by authorities to investigate women’s rights and sexual minority groups, as a way to “maintain stability.”
Among those affected are the pages of Gay Pride of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and ColorsWorld of Peking University.
These accounts were deleted, and instead a message appeared stating that “the content has been blocked and the use of the account has been suspended.”
Although China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, same-sex marriage is illegal and issues related to the LGBT community are considered sensitive.