Grindr has removed its gay dating and hookup app from multiple app stores as the Communist Party cracks down on LGBTQI content as part of its month-long censorship campaign.

The Guardian reported this campaign is happening during the Lunar New Year holiday and as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games begin. It is being conducted by China’s Cyberspace Administration. 

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According to Bloomberg News, the company removed the app from the Apple App Store, “citing difficulties keeping it in compliance with the country’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL).”

New Privacy Law

The PIPL is a new regulation based on the Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation which became effective in Europe last year. 

Bloomberg reports “the law limits personal information stored in apps” and “requires data transferred between China and other regions to be approved by the Chinese government.”

News.com.au reported “data from mobile research firm Qimai shows it was no longer available on Thursday” and “Google’s Play Store is not available in China.” It said Grindr’s “local competitors such as Blued” can still be downloaded.

It also reported American companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn and Epic Games Inc’s Fortnite withdrew from the Chinese market due to an “increasingly challenging business and legal environment.” 

Censoring Gay Content

“Beijing censors” have “sporadically” censored content and entertainment containing “gay themes.” This is supposed to have particularly happened online and in films with gay romance movies being banned.

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Grinder was also not available for download on Android devices and similar Chinese-run platforms, including “Tencent Holdings”, “Huawei Technologies” and the “Alphabet Play Store.”

Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., the Chinese owner of Grindr sold the app in 2020 to investors for US $600 million following mounting pressure from the US government over concerns the company would misuse users’ data and raise a potential threat to national security. 

Yahoo Finance reported the app has had glitches in recent weeks with problems such as “adding likes” or “sending messages.” 

According to CBS News, China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 but has not legalised same-sex marriage. LGBTQI issues remain taboo. 

China’s Crackdown On LGBTQI Community

The Cyberspace Administration said in a statement it aims to “create a civilised, healthy, festive and auspicious online atmosphere for public opinion during the Lunar New Year.” 

Major Chinese university LGBTQI rights groups were blocked from WeChat last year. Also, in September last year,  China’s had launched action to stamp out “effeminate men” from media. 

The Communist Party at the time targeted “androgynous pop idols” and its National Radio and Television Administration labelled effeminate men as “niangpao”, a derogatory term meaning “sissy men.”

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