CHINA—As China's "Cleaning the Web" campaign continues its work ridding the internet of material the government believes is harmful to its citizens, news reports suggest that the type of content being targeted also includes "more than 20 internet fiction websites, including Jinjiang Literature City and the Hongxiu platform."
According to wantchinatimes.com, "These websites have attracted lots of fans of Yaoi or Boys' Love manga, which deals with homoerotic male sexual relationships, usually written by women. Female fans of the genre are called 'fujoshi' in Japanese which translates to 'rotten women.'"
The article also states that "China's Yaoi fans often share fiction online on smartphones and iPads, and discuss it on web forums, giving feedback to the writers."
Though a niche offering, Jinjiang Literature City's popularity has grown since it was founded in 1999, and "has developed into the world's largest female literature base, having cultivated lots of loyal and enthusiastic readers, including many well-educated women.
"In 2003," added wantchinatimes.com, "Jinjiang Literature City founded a sister website to focus on new romantic fiction, and moved its headquarters to Beijing."
In 2008, it also started charging readers in order to be able to pay its writers, many of whom now "earn a monthly income of over 10,000 Yuan (US $1,600)."
In time, its readership grew to account for 80 percent of the Chinese online romantic fiction market, attracting 2.2 readers daily.
It's unclear exactly what the government finds so offensive about sites like Jinjiang Literature City, which apparently feature relatively soft fare compared with hardcore porn sites, but it could simply be that the government believes their embrace of sexual orientations outside the norm is inherently subversive or immoral, even if that embrace is made with words only.
Image: Screenshot of the Jinjiang Literature City website.