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China’s Pop-Culture Purge Continues; Authorities Call for Boycott of ‘Sissy Idols’

Published: September 2, 2021
Chinese actor and singer Wang Yuan poses during a photocall for the film "So long my son" (Di jiu tian chang) presented in competition at the 69th Berlinale film festival on February 14, 2019 in Berlin. (Image: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s crackdown on its entertainment industry continues to intensify with China’s media regulator calling for a boycott of entertainers that it considers “sissy” and who promotes an incorrect beauty standard. 

The Chinese government has implemented an outright ban on effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday, to promote “revolutionary culture” as part of a broadening campaign to tighten control over business and society and to enforce official morality, the Associated Press reported. 

The TV regulator said broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” while using the slang term “niang pao” — which literally translated means “girlie guns” — to refer to effeminate men. 

Chinese authorities fear that China’s young men are being influenced by Chinese pop stars who in turn are influenced by some South Korean and Japanese singers and actors that sport a girlish look. 

An eight-point plan, released by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) on their website on Thursday morning calls for a “further regulation of arts and entertainment shows and related personnel.”

The plan seeks to promote “traditional Chinese culture, revolution culture [and] socialist culture,” while addressing what authorities consider “vulgar internet celebrities.”

It explicitly states that broadcasters should “boycott illegal or immoral personnel,” and, “When selecting entertainers and guests, radio, television and internet platforms should not employ people who have an incorrect political stance, break laws and regulations, or speak or behave against public order and morals.”

Idol shows have been banned as well as shows starring children of celebrities. 

Bizarrely, the 8-point plan tells entertainers that they should not use “their profession and fame to gain profit.”

The plan also calls for a strict environment that regulates pay in the entertainment industry and encourages celebrities to participate in charity shows.

The Central Propaganda Department is waging a broad battle against the entertainment industry in an attempt to hold online platforms accountable, while implementing strict supervision of  TV content like game show’s and is vowing to increase punishment for unlawful or immoral entertainers while ensuring they never rise to stardom again. 

Just last week, Zhao Wei, award winning Chinese actress, director, successful businesswoman and billionaire was scrubbed from the internet and had her works pulled from every streaming site on the mainland for reasons that still remain unknown. 

A string of other high-profile celebrities have also been targeted. Canadian-Chinese star Wu Yifan was arrested, Zhao Wei’s artist Zhang Zhehan was completely banned over a Japanese shrine photo incident, singer Huo Zun announced his retirement from acting, and Zheng Shuang was retroactively charged taxes and additional late fees and was fined $299 million RMB ($US46.24 million).