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Is China's Twitter Selling Its Soul To Censorship?


BEIJING - Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular microblogging websites, announced last week the launch of the Sina Microblogging Community Convention in order "to defend the order of microblogging." That was the claim, at least, the reality is that it was just a ploy for giving the administrator the right to delete posts that may otherwise be destined to be censored by Chinese authorities, reports the China Times.

The regulation mainly involves the deletion of "security-endangering, false, sensitive information or rumors, as well as private or obscene information," the Taiwan-based publication reported. Any infringement will result in the deletion of information, and the temporary shut-down or permanent closure of the user's account.

It is believed that Sina is doing this in exchange for being allowed to stay in business after being punished and shut down for three days in early April this year by the authorities for "releasing and forwarding false information​​" related to the Bo Xilai affair, the China Times reported.

Since the birth of Weibo, social media have quickly become the most effective forum for the Chinese public in lambasting corrupt officials and abuses of power. More than 100 million messages are posted each day on Sina Weibo. This does not count the millions on China's other major microblog service provider, Tencent QQ. Beijing authorities as well as many local governments are particularly nervous about the potential influence and danger they bring.

The Chinese diaspora, including people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States where Sina Weibo has clients, are appalled that Sina is giving in. "It's becoming the thug of Chinese censorship," the China Times wrote.

The Epoch Times, an overseas Chinese community newspaper, concluded that: "Sina Weibo has reduced itself to enslavement."

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New Study Finds High Levels Of Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination In Buddhism

We tend to think of Buddhism as a religion devoid of commandments, and therefore generally more accepting than others. The author, an Australian researcher — and "genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist" themself — suggests that it is far from being the case.

Photo of a Buddhist monk in a Cambodia temple, walking away from the camera

Some Buddhist spaces can be highly heteronormative and show lack of understanding toward the LGBTQ+ community

Stephen Kerry

More than half of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ Buddhists feel reluctant to “come out” to their Buddhist communities and nearly one in six have been told directly that being LGBTQIA+ isn’t in keeping with the Buddha’s teachings.

These are some of the findings from my research looking at the experiences of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists in Australia.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

I’m a genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist myself and I was curious about others’ experiences in Australia since there has been no research done on our community before. So, in 2020, I surveyed 82 LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and have since followed this up with 29 face-to-face interviews.

Some people may think Buddhism would be quite accepting of LGBTQIA+ people. There are, after all, no religious laws, commandments or punishments in Buddhism. My research indicates, however, this is not always true.

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