After successfully cutting down on dangerous historical cleavage, Chinese censors have moved on to the next threat to the nation’s impressionable youths: violent and vulgar anime. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Culture announced that it is targeting some of China’s internet giants for hosting content that “lures minors to delinquency and glamorizes violence, pornography activities”.
The Ministry of Culture announced that the offending internet companies—including Baidu, Tencent, and Youku—will face harsh punishment if they do not remove the explicit (Japanese) cartoon content that plagues their sites.
The ministry directly cites three Japanese anime series as the embodiments of glorified violence, terrorism, vulgarity, and eroticism. This includes “Highschool of the Dead”, a show about a zombie apocalypse that also manages to be borderline pornographic; “Terror in Resonance”, in which the good guys steal nuclear materials and carry out terrorist attacks; and “Blood-C”, which, as the name would suggest, features quite a bit of blood.
The announcement noted that merely on the streaming site Tudou alone, 12 clips from these horrid programs had already attracted more than one million hits. We all should be drowned in an ocean of scantily clad youth, covered in blood and carrying out terrorist attacks on zombies any day now.
Following the announcement, an image purportedly of the Ministry of Culture’s anime blacklist found its way on to Weibo. The list contains 29 anime titles.
The move was soon attacked in an editorial by Shenzhen-based news site Qianzhen, which wondered why a rating system would not be preferable to an all-out ban on adult content, and also noticed a tad of hypocrisy and protectionism in the ministry’s choice of banned programming. Via China Digital Times:
Let’s set aside the question of whether these anime fall under what the Ministry of Culture calls “violent terrorist content,” “flagrant dissemination of pornography, and harm to social mores.” Judging just from the homages to the resistance against Japan slapped together in the past few years, with plot devices such as defeating the “devils” with bare hands and the “devils” gang raping women, isn’t the Ministry of Culture biased in censoring “violent terrorist animations” but leaving these dramas alone?
While domestic war dramas haven’t yet felt the wrath of censors, dynastic period dramas glorifying squeezed-breasts sure have. Priorities. Also, in 2013, censors cracked down on the orgy of hedonism and vulgarity that is the children’s cartoon “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf.” Even more so after two kids in Jiangsu suffered severe burns in their attempt to imitate the show.
This attack on Japanese cartoons might have something to do with a wider campaign to limit foreign programs in China. In a 2014 anti-vulgarity campaign the obscene American comedy “The Big Bang Theory” was censored from Chinese streaming sites along with three other objectionable US sitcoms. A regulation instituted in November, 2014 requires streaming sites to acquire publication licenses in order to host other countries’ TV series and movies. The licenses are judged and handed out on a case-by-case basis by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
Chinese viewers may just have to rely on wholesome domestic dramas for entertainment.
by Alex Linder