China court case challenges online ban on gay content
Nick Yates
A Chinese court has accepted a Shanghai man’s legal challenge to a recently-introduced regulation banning streaming-video services from carrying content that depicts gay relationships.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said on Wednesday that it will hear Fan Chunlin’s case demanding China's media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), justify its classification of homosexuality as “abnormal”.
Fan, 30, wants SAPPRFT to clarify the policy basis for the rule, which was implemented last summer.
The court is now required to hold hearings and issue a decision within six months, the plaintiff's lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, told newspaper the Global Times.
Fan had previously made a formal request to SAPPRFT in June 2017 asking the body to disclose the legal basis of the ban. 
However, the regulator replied that the request did not fall under the scope for public information disclosure.
US magazine The Hollywood Reporter quoted the founder of LGBT Rights Advocacy of China saying he was not optimistic about the outcome of the case. 
"We expect to lose somehow, because this is a national government department [we are challenging]," Yanzi Peng said. "But we still wanted to file the case because we have to show the position from our community and to tell society that we are not abnormal."
An LGBT rights rally in China /VCG Photo

An LGBT rights rally in China /VCG Photo

There are an estimated 70 million LGBT people in China. In a survey conducted by the UN Development Program in 2017, more than half of the 30,000 LGBT Chinese polled said they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
China removed homosexuality from its “Standard for Classifying Mental Disorders” in 2001.