Recent reports of crackdowns by Chinese officials on young female fans who write slash have sent waves of alarm throughout international fandom waters.
A new investigative report from Anhui TV claims that Chinese authorities have arrested at least 20 people for the crime of writing male/male fanfic—mostly polite, introverted young women in their 20s.
The increased attention to slash is part of a recently announced Internet “cleanup" by China’s National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. It’s apparently been tasked with deleting any kind of pornographic online content.
The whitewashing reportedly includes all text, pictures, videos, and advertisements. It also seems to include slash fic—specifically male/male slash and its Japanese cultural counterpart, yaoi or Boys Love. In China, it all falls under the term “dan mei.”
Slash is only one form of the many kinds of fanfiction on the Internet, and fanfiction in general is rarely more shocking than your average romance novel. But it seems some Chinese authorities have targeted slash and the young women who write it as a particularly appalling form of online pornography.