China’s broadcasting regulation agency has stated that it will be banning “effeminate” aesthetics in male stars in the media and that influencers who are “vulgar” should not be watched or followed.
This is part of an increasing level of strictness for rules concerning what the agency described as content of an “unhealthy” nature in China’s programs.
The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) has said that moral and political behavior need to be included as criteria when choosing actors.
Some formats of talent contest shows have also been banned.
The broadcasting regulator also ordered TV stations to rein in overly high salaries paid to stars and report any tax evaders.
The authorities have done all this to fulfill their pledge to promote what it defines as properly masculine images of men, while criticizing male celebrities who use too much makeup at the same time.
However, they also said programs that promote revolutionary, traditional, or “advanced socialist” culture, or those that foster an atmosphere of patriotism, should be encouraged.
The nation’s internet regulator said last week that it would crack down on what it referred to as “chaotic” fan culture in the media, banning multiple fan club sites in the process.
Professor Lynette Ong, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, told BBC that she found the latest announcements to be “evidence of the Party’s ever encroaching role into the lives of ordinary people.”
In Beijing this last month, movie stars Zho Dongyu and Du Jiang warned their successors to strive to never become slaves to the media market, calling on actors and performers to “bravely scale artistic heights under the leadership of the Party.”
The entertainment and media industry are some of the country’s most profitable sources of income, and by the end of 2021 it’s expected to bring in revenues of approximately $358.6bn. This was predicted according to a recent study and report by consultants at PwC.
This is not an entirely new development, however. Back in 2019, to further their stance on censorship, China began to blur out the ears of some of its male pop stars on television and internet programs to cover up their piercings. The government has also previously been known to blur ponytails and tattoos from screens.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency recently criticized what it termed society’s effeminate male celebrities, adding: “To cultivate a new generation that will shoulder the responsibility of national rejuvenation, we need to resist erosion from indecent culture.”
In China, homosexuality is not officially illegal, but authorities are known to be strict on censorship, often editing out homosexual references in movies and TV shows that air there. Sex scenes and nudity have also been edited out of popular series like “Game of Thrones” and films like “The Shape of Water.”