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China removes ‘harmonious’ gay documentary from internet

China removes ‘harmonious’ gay documentary from internet

As an online video about coming out to parents racks up more than 100 million views in China, the state censorship board has removed all traces of a similar documentary from the internet.

The country’s leading queer filmmaker, Fan Popo, said he was puzzled as why to his ‘harmonious’ 2012 film, Mama Rainbow, was deleted from all Chinese video sharing sites.

‘When I called, they told me it was because of the gay content,’ he told Gay Star News.

‘And when I tried to upload it again, it didn’t pass censorship.’

Even re-uploads on other accounts were deleted.

Mama Rainbow, about six mothers and their gay sons, was shown internationally at film festivals in the US, India and Canada. The film had a total 100,000 views on China’s three leading video sites before just disappearing from the internet in December.

But why was Fan’s PFLAG China-backed documentary blocked when the viral video produced by the same group was left alone?

‘This is actually a puzzle because I have some other more sensitive videos and they’re OK. Just Mama Rainbow got in trouble,’ he said.

‘Mama Rainbow talks about coming out to families. Among all the LGBT issues, it’s a very harmonious topic. It’s very weird that they took this one off.’

To get to the bottom of the issue, Fan sent a letter to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) earlier this month asking for the document sent to

According to Chinese law, SARFT must reply within 15 working days even if the reply is to say they will not hand over the document.

Fan said this is first time anything like this had happened to him but online media producer Queer Comrades was censored quite often but did not like to make a fuss.

‘In China, people are used to censorship. The government can censor without any reason, without showing you any document, without notifying you,’ he said.

‘The reason I’m angry is because there are no rules. We don’t know which one will be censored, which one will be not.’

Fan said the censorship would not muzzle him and he would continue making a follow-up to Mama Rainbow, titled Papa Rainbow.

‘I struggled with whether I should do this,’ he said. ‘But I made the decision I should not keep silent.’

Watch the documentary below: