A popular gay-themed online drama was not available on its broadcast platform on Monday, once again sparking public debate over Chinese society's acceptance of the LGBT community.
A search for Addiction - a 15-episode series about love between two teenage boys - returned no results on video streaming website v.qq.com, which previously broadcast the series. The public relations department of Tencent, the website's parent company, refused to comment on the alleged removal when reached by the Global Times.
Though the page for Addiction on streaming site iqiyi.com could still be viewed, the video page could not be opened. Comments left by viewers showed that the series has been unavailable since Monday.
The show, which debuted on January 29, remained the second most-viewed TV series on iqiyi.com as of press time.
"There's no reason. It's a result of the broader context," Chaijidan, writer of the series, told news outlet ifeng.com on Tuesday. Another TV show based on a novel by Chai has also been removed.
Online discussions on Sina Weibo hashtagged "removal of Addiction" have received over 110 million hits as of press time. Though there has been no official announcement of the removal, speculation runs high that the series' gay themes and sexually explicit dialogue might be the triggers.
About 95 percent of 13,000 Net users voted against the removal in an online poll launched by the Chengdu Committee for the Well-being of the Youth, a government-supported social organization based in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. In the same poll, 281 Net users voted that "it is inappropriate for children to watch gay videos."
The number of gay-themed films and videos made and watched in China has increased in recent years as the topic has gained increasing attention and popularity, though many of the videos are removed as supervision of such films has strengthened online, LGBT documentary filmmaker Fan Popo told the Global Times.
Fan's 2012 documentary on how parents react to their children coming out as gay was also removed from the Internet in December 2014.