Chinese lesbian dating app Rela shuts down


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A Chinese dating app for lesbians that has more than five million users has been shut down.

The app, Rela, is no longer available in the Android or Apple app stores, and its website and Sina Weibo account have been deleted.

Users began to notice that the app was not accessible last week. It is unclear why it has been shut down.

Rela told its users on WeChat that the service had been suspended for an “important adjustment in service”.

“Rela has always been with you and please await its return!”

Conservative attitudes

The state internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has not commented on the shutdown.

Some users have suggested that it was connected to Rela’s support for parents of LGBT children who wanted to take part in a “marriage market” in Shanghai on 20 May.

The group joined the weekly event in People’s Park where older parents try to find partners for their unmarried sons and daughters, and handed out “educational flyers”.

According to Sixth Tone, security officers ordered the group to leave the park, saying they had not registered their “advertising event” with the police.

It is not illegal to be gay in China, but homosexuality was considered to be a mental disorder until 2001 and attitudes towards it remain conservative.

Grindr buyout

In April, a Chinese dating app aimed at gay and bisexual men, Zank, was shut down after the CAC accused it of broadcasting pornographic content.

But in February, another dating app, Blued, received substantial funding from the state-backed Beijing News.

Rela’s closure comes a week after a Chinese gaming company completed its buyout of Grindr, the world’s biggest gay social networking app.

Beijing Kunlun Tech bought a 61.5% stake in Grindr in January 2016 for $93m (£72.3m). Last week, it announced it was buying the remaining 38.5% for $152m (£118m).

It also coincides with Taiwan’s top court ruling in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.



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