Yet again, China is looking to clean up its media landscape by making entertainment news less entertaining, forbidding reports that promote “Western lifestyle,” ridicule “Chinese values” or detail celebrity scandals.
Instead, China’s top media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is instructing all news platforms to bring a more positive and politically correct tone to their reporting about celebs.
Of course, this directive comes a few weeks after popular Chinese actor Wang Baoqiang’s explosive divorce scandal that consumed the Chinese internet.
But SAPPRFT isn’t just targeting reports about established stars. The government watchdog also lashes out against those reports that hype the success and wealth of overnight celebrities who attained their position through scandal or selfishness, Xinhua reports.
Spoofs of classical works of Chinese literature are also forbidden as are promotions of “Western lifestyle” — though it’s not clear what the heck SAPPRFT means by that. Cowboys beware?
Of course, “Western values” have long been loathed by the Chinese government. Recently, Chinese universities have been told to ban books promoting Western values and international programs designed to prepare students for studying overseas have been shut down. Western diets have even been blamed for China’s growing childhood obesity rate.
Meanwhile, China’s own ideology has been lagging behind, thanks to some seriously sucky propaganda. After completing its internal investigation in June, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced that propaganda and media outlets need to do a better and more active job of shaping public opinion and values.
In that effort, SAPPRFT has had a busy year. In March, they banned television shows from depicting “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content,” including smoking, drinking, adultery, sexual freedom, homosexuality, perversion and reincarnation. Later, the regulator took aim at reality TV shows, banning any which prominently featured child celebrities. Finally, in June, they cracked down on foreign-inspired programming.
SAPPRFT has vowed that it will punish those institutions that disobey their latest directive, threatening to suspend programming or even revoke licenses. We’ll have to wait and see if any news outlet dares to hype celebs or “Western lifestyle.”