News that one of China's leading social media sites would remove “homosexual” content sparked a storm of online protests over the weekend under the hashtag “I am gay.”

Sina Weibo, which is similar to Twitter and has 400 million active monthly users, announced its “clean-up campaign” to remove “illegal” content on Friday. The site said that it would remove “manga [comics] and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or [related to] homosexuality.”

The site said its campaign was in response to stricter cybersecurity laws enacted last year by President Xi Jinping, The New York Times reported.

Angry users said that the campaign was another example of the discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face every day in China.

They protested the move by posting selfies with the words “I am gay” followed by rainbow-colored emoticons.

On Monday, Weibo announced that it was reversing course.

“The clean-up campaign will not target homosexual content, as it is intended to focus on cleaning up pornographic and violent content,” the site said.

Up until 1997, being gay was a crime in China, and conservative attitudes toward sexual minorities remain widespread.

Chen Du, an LGBT rights activist, said that the campaign would make coming out more difficult for young people.

“People who are ready to come out are going to be pushed back to where they used to be, faced with pressure and helplessness,” he said.

President Xi's law gives the government the power to punish Internet companies that publish content it deems unsafe or offensive.