Porn Sites In Hong Kong Shut Down To Support Pro-Democracy Protests

Published June 17, 2019
Published June 17, 2019

Under the proposed law, suspects in Hong Kong, where people enjoy far more civil liberties, could be sent to trial in mainland China, where freedoms are much more restricted.

Hong Kong Protests From Above

Winson Wong/South China Morning Post/Getty ImagesEstimates indicate between one and two millioon people have taken to the streets in protest. Seen here, they’ve flooded East Point Road in Causeway Bay to march to the Central Government Offices to demand a change in leadership. June 16, 2019. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

A controversial government proposal to expand Hong Kong’s extradition laws has drawn an estimated two million people — more than a quarter of Hong Kong’s total population — to the streets in protest. According to Quartz, the amendment would — in a historical first — facilitate the extradition of suspects to mainland China. In effect, the people of Hong Kong, who enjoy much broader freedoms of expression and speech, would be subject to mainland China’s much more restrictive laws.

The public’s opposition to these laws has grown so fierce, they’ve found solidarity from a perhaps utterly unexpected base: porn sites.

Two sites, ThisAv and AV01, displayed messages on their landing pages that criticized Hong Kong officials using curse words and sexually explicit references. ThisAV initially urged its visitors to attend the “life or death” protests on June 9 instead of “jerking off at home.”

Three days later, tens of thousands of protesters did attend and chose key government buildings as their targets. They peacefully disrupted traffic and the normal flow of business in and out of central Hong Kong to make matters clear: this law is not what we, the people, want.

In a humble and straightforward tweet, the founder of ThisAV asked the media not to portray their business as “some kind of conscientious website,” as that does a disservice to “other companies that are truly conscientious.”

A CNN segment on the growing Hong Kong protests.

The founder, who has chosen to remain anonymous, explained that their actions merely allowed for what “most Hong Kong people are thinking” to have a larger platform. Local Chinese newspaper, Apple Daily, reported that this isn’t the first time ThisAV has lent a hand to regional pro-democracy movements.

AV01, meanwhile, said it was merely following suit by suspending operations. Its landing page urged visitors who might usually avoid confrontation to reconsider and go outside.

“Do you want to live the rest of your life looking over your shoulder? There will be no more safe place or security. The government has failed you, the system has failed you, the society has failed you, do you want to fail yourself?”

While AV01 blocked its entire porn cache starting June 11, to motivate viewers to leave the house, ThisAV kept its content up on its mobile site.

Hong Kong’s “adult content” industry has a decades-long history of supporting pro-democracy movements. During the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, a popular Hong Kong magazine called Lung Fu Pao publicly supported the protestors and sent its proceeds their way.

According to The New York Times, protestors returned to the streets on Sunday with an even longer list of demands — confident the groundswell of support has given them an upper hand. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam put the controversial extradition bill on hold on Saturday and apologized.

Hong Kong Protests Police Sign

Winson Wong/South China Morning Post/Getty ImagesProtesters gathered at Causeway Bay to march to the Central Government Offices in Tamar. Citizens want Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. June 16, 2019. Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

In the end, the outcome here remains fairly uncertain. Will Lam resign? Will the bill be officially withdrawn? Nobody knows. What is clear, however, is that Hong Kong’s citizenry is resilient and determined.

“They want to send a message to Beijing,” said Willy Lam, a professor at the Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “If Beijing wants to do something that really infringes upon Hong Kong’s basic value, Hong Kong people will turn out in force, again and again, to pour out their discontent.”


After learning about porn sites’ solidarity with Hong Kong protesters, check these Siberia’s “20 photos depicting American civil rights protests. Then, learn about five extreme protests again everything from animal testing to the Vietnam War.

Marco Margaritoff
Marco Margaritoff is a Staff Writer at All That Is Interesting.