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China Bans Men From TV Seen As Not Masculine Enough

A television shows a broadcast of a Chinese talk show program as it sits beneath a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping in a home converted into a tourist homestay in Zhaxigang village near Nyingchi in western China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
China Bans Men From TV Seen As Not Masculine Enough
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China’s government has banned from television men who do not appear very masculine.

The government told TV outlets Thursday that they should advance “revolutionary culture.” It is part of the Chinese government’s larger plan to tighten control over business and society and enforce official morality.

President Xi Jinping has called for a “national rejuvenation,” with more Communist Party control of business, education, culture and religion. Companies and the public are under increasing pressure to go along with the government’s plan for a powerful China and healthier society.

The party has already reduced children’s ability to go online to play video games. It is also advising against what it sees as an unhealthy attention to famous people.

TV outlets must put an end to effeminate men and other unusual “esthetics,” the National Radio and TV Administration said. It used an insulting term for effeminate men.

The government is concerned that Chinese pop stars are failing to push young men to be masculine. Pop stars are well-known singers of popular music. Some famous and well-dressed Korean and Japanese singers and actors have influenced many Chinese pop stars.

TV outlets should not show “vulgar” famous people or praise wealth and fame, the government said. Instead, programs should show “Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.”

Xi’s government is also tightening control over the Chinese internet industry.

It has started anti-monopoly, data security and other enforcement actions against companies like Tencent Holding and Alibaba Group. Tencent is a games and social media provider, and Alibaba is a large online shopping company. The communist party thinks they are too big and independent.

Rules that took effect last week limit children under 18 to three hours per week of online games. They are also banned from playing on school days.

Game makers were already required to get government approval for new games before they are released. Officials have called on them to have more pro-Chinese stories.

Chinese women walk past advertisement featuring teen idol Lu Han, also known as China's Justin Bieber in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
Chinese women walk past advertisement featuring teen idol Lu Han, also known as China's Justin Bieber in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

The party is also increasing control over celebrities.

Television outlets should avoid performers who “violate public order” or have “lost morality,” government officials said. Programs about the children of celebrities also are banned.

Last week, blogging site Weibo suspended thousands of accounts that examined the lives of celebrities or had too much entertainment information.

A well-known actress, Zhao Wei, has disappeared from popular entertainment. Her name has been removed from credits of movies and TV programs.

Thursday’s order told TV outlets to limit pay for performers. It also told them to avoid contracts that permit performers to pay less tax.

One actress, Zheng Shuang, was fined 299 million yuan (equal to $46 million) last week for under-paying taxes. It is believed that this was a warning to celebrities to behave as a model Chinese citizen.

I’m Dan Novak

Joe McDonald reported this story for The Associated Press. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.


Words in This Story

masculineadj. of, relating to, or suited to men or boys

rejuvenatev. to make (someone) feel or look young, healthy, or energetic again

effeminate adj. having or showing qualities that are considered more suited to women than to men : not manly

esthetic n. of or relating to art or beauty

vulgar adj. not having or showing good manners, good taste, or politeness

monopoly n. complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market