In yet another telltale sign of China’s widescale cultural censorship, China’s top media regulator -the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) – has officially outlawed hip-hop imagery from its broadcasts, saying that it “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture).”
Gao Changli, director of the administration’s publicity department, outlined four “Don’t” rules on Friday:
Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.
Rappers such as Wang Hao aka PG One and GAI aka Zhou Yan have all been heavily censored from the massively popular TV show Rap of China. PG One was recently forced to make a public apology for lewd lyrics in his song Christmas Eve while GAI was dropped from the television programme The Singer with no reason given, Reuters reports. According to the BBC Rap of China was viewed more than 2.5 billion times 2017 on China’s largest video streaming website, IQiyi.
People took to Webo to express their outrage with one user saying, “How can a government with high culture have such childish logic?”
This development comes at a time when China is both heralded for its economic growth and expansion as well as its burgeoning middle class. However, the country still remains an autocracy, with much of its decision-making shrouded in secrecy, reigning tight control over what its citizens can interact with. It has a distinct aversion to major social media sites from the US, with everything from Google to Facebook blocked in mainland China. China also recently banned a number of popular Western artists from performing in the country, including Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and Maroon 5 for their ties to the Dalai Lama, and Justin Bieber for “bad behaviour.”