Chinese censors issued an eight-page document on 31 December 2015 on the production of tv content, forbidding a wide range of topics, including same-sex relationships, CNN reported on 3 March 2016.
Though the document was released at the end of 2015, Chinese media only began reporting on the new guidelines at the end of February 2016, which coincided with the pulling of popular same-sex drama ‘Addicted Heroin’ from online streaming sites.
According to Global Times, the show premiered on 29 January 2016 and was the second most-viewed series on iqiyi.com. The government has made no official statement on the show’s removal. Hashtags concerning the removal have swamped Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms, receiving over 110 million hits as of 24 February 2016.
LGBT documentary filmmaker Fan Pop told the Global Times that gay-themed films and videos are on the rise in Chine, but that the supervision of such content online is strengthening and many get removed.
Such a sweeping document on tv content mirrors the country’s continued policing of morality, as was witnessed in August 2015 when the Ministry of Culture released a blacklist of 120 songs that trumpeted “obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality”. These 120 banned songs were not simply banned from websites or radios, but also from being played at entertainment venues and live performances, or appearing in any audio-visual publication.
Apart from same-sex relationships, the guidelines present a list of other “abnormal” behaviours forbidden from tv, including incest, extramarital affairs, one-night stands, underage love, sexual perversion, assault, abuse, and violence.
The document also outlined other forbidden topics that “exaggerate the dark side of society”, such as content that may damage China’s image or undermine the country’s unite or promote extravagant lifestyles.
Photo is a screen grab of an episode of ‘Heroin Addicted’ from YouTube where the show can still be viewed, though YouTube is blocked is China
» CNN – 3 March 2016:
China bans same-sex romance from TV screens
» Global Times – 24 February 2016:
Gay TV series reportedly removed from several video streaming sites
» China Television Drama Production Industry Association – 31 December 2015:
General TV content production
» Artsfreedom.org – 11 March 2016:
China: Hollywood film banned from release
» Artsfreedom.org – 12 August 2015:
China: 120 songs banned for promoting obscenity and violence