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China Isn’t Having Any of Your Science Bros., They’ve Arrested 20 Slash Fanfiction Writers

Team China: Imagination Police.


I’m no huge proponent of fanfiction, but arresting people is taking it a bit far, China. Well, for China, it’s actually really not. Their Internet and media in generally are broadly censored, but a new report suggests that the country’s police have arrested at least 20 people for writing romantic tales starring their favorite fictional male characters.

The report comes from Anhui TV and says that most of those arrested have been women who are introverted, polite, and in their early 20s. As for what they did wrong, China has censors that decide what is and isn’t appropriate in their media, and they’re traditionally harsher on erotic fanfiction involving love between men than they are on heterosexual material.

One fanfic archive, Dan Mei Fiction Web, had its owner and some of its contributors arrested, and the site was shut down entirely despite its content being hosted in the US, where all of your fanfiction dreams can be realized free of jail time. Other large Chinese fanfic sites remained online, but they’ve removed all of their fanfiction content to make sure they don’t meet the same fate, so their continued existence is kind of a relative concept.

Chinese Internet users were outraged, but the trend is unlikely to change any time soon. According to The Daily Dot, one user of “Chinese Twitter” Weibo said, “This is not cleaning the cyberspace. This is pure discrimination. I may never see a rainbow flag fly above China in my life time.” The police who participated in the arrests think the fanfiction promotes homosexuality, and unfortunately, they see that as a problem.

The censorship trend is unlikely to change any time in the near future, either, as it runs so deep that some Chinese porn censors are so overworked that they’ve been driven to the point of being completely repulsed by porn. Too bad for them—the slash fanfiction trend isn’t likely to change, either. Remember, censors: things are changing, and you’re always in a losing battle over the long term. And we have a Hulk.


(via The Daily Dot, images via The Avengers)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.