China’s ongoing crackdown on the country’s entertainment industry has stepped up a notch after the state media regulator called for the boycott of “sissy” boybands, reality talent shows and vulgar social media influencers among a raft of other measures.
The National Radio and Television Administration, China’s broadcast regulator, released an eight-point regulation plan for the entertainment industry that calls for a wholesale clean-up of the sector, both in front of and behind the camera as Beijing continues to reshape cultural life.
Among the key points that were published in the South China Morning Post, the media regulator says that media companies should boycott “immoral” and “overly entertaining” stars as well as “sissy idols” who go against “correct beauty standards.”
“Sissy idols” is a direct reference to boy bands that enjoy massive popularity in China. Acts such as TFBoys, Uniq, Super Junior-M and Exo-M have been the long-running target of criticism for wearing makeup and being focused on high fashion as opposed to what the state considers traditional masculine interests. The new regulations have now codified existing criticism.
The regulator is also calling for a boycott of stars who flaunt their wealth online or on social media, a ban on people that trade in entertainment gossip as well as “vulgar” social media influencers.
For media companies, perhaps the most commercially problematic regulation is that “idol selection shows cannot be shown, as well as shows starring the children of celebrities,” which would include phenomenally popular talent reality shows, known locally as “idol survival shows,” such as Idol Producer, Youth With You and Produce 101 China.
As well as garnering tens of millions of viewers, these idol survival shows regularly ‘break the internet’ in China, with billions of clips, posts and content posted to social media when they air.
As well as banning on-screen idols and talent shows it deems unacceptable, the regulator is looking for professional entertainment industry commentators to call out stars and “insist on correct political direction and values, criticize the fake, ugly and evil values.”
Further regulations include banning excessively high payments, encouraging celebrities to do charity work, further punishments for fake contracts and tax evasion.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter