China bans from TV men it sees as not masculine enough
BEIJING — China’s government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday to promote “revolutionary culture,” broadening a campaign to tighten control over business and society, and enforce official morality.
President Xi Jinping has called for a “national rejuvenation,” with tighter Communist Party control of business, education, culture and religion. Companies and the public are under increasing pressure to align with its vision for a more powerful China and a healthier society.
The party has reduced children’s access to online games and is trying to discourage what it sees as unhealthy attention to celebrities.
Broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” the National Radio and TV Administration said, using an insulting slang term for effeminate men — “niang pao,” literally “girlie guns.”
That reflects official concern that Chinese pop stars, influenced by some South Korean and Japanese singers and actors, are failing to encourage China’s young men to be masculine enough.
Broadcasters should avoid promoting “vulgar internet celebrities,” and admiration of wealth and celebrity, the regulator said. Instead, programs should “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.”
Xi’s government is also tightening control over Chinese internet industries.
It has launched anti-monopoly, data security and other enforcement actions at such companies as games and social media provider Tencent Holding and e-commerce giant the Alibaba Group, which the ruling party worries are too big and independent.
Rules that took effect Wednesday limit anyone under 18 to three hours per week of online games and prohibit play on school days.
Game developers were already required to submit new titles for government approval before release. Officials have called on them to add nationalistic themes.
The party is also tightening control over celebrities. Broadcasters should avoid performers who “violate public order” or have “lost morality,” the regulator said. Programs about the children of celebrities are also banned.
On Saturday, microblog platform Weibo Corp. suspended thousands of fan club and entertainment news accounts.
A popular actress, Zhao Wei, has disappeared from streaming platforms. Her name has also been removed from the credits of movies and TV programs.
Thursday’s order told broadcasters to limit pay for performers and avoid contract terms that might help them evade taxes.
Another actress, Zheng Shuang, was fined $46 million last week on tax evasion charges in a warning to celebrities to be positive role models.