China’s National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications has blocked three popular e-book platforms over “obscene” content. This means these platforms are suspended from distributing new works, reported Inquirer.
Qutoutiao’s Midu Novels and Bytedance’s Tomato Novel were ordered to stop their updates for three months until 15 October 2019. Jinjiang Literature City, with more than 30 million users, was given a two-week suspension.
The Chinese government requested these platforms start implementing more precise control over the content to prevent the distribution of harmful works.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, it was not explained what is considered a “harmful work”, but some of the books available on the apps have covers depicting women in revealing clothing or include content with sexual or LGBTI themes. It is believed that the authorities were concerned that alike works could be a bad influence on youth.
Freemuse’s in-depth analysis of cases of violations of artistic freedom from 2018 gathered in The State of Artistic Freedom 2019: Whose Narratives Count? found that censorship in China often concerns artistic expressions containing governmental criticism. The trend of censoring art in China continues to be a struggle for the artists as the government was responsible for 91% of the violations of artistic freedom documented by Freemuse in China in 2018.