China bans reality shows amid showbiz crackdown

The regulator has ordered broadcasters to resist “anomalous aesthetics” such as “sissy men”, “vulgar influencers”, inflated star salaries and artists with “fallen mores”.

FILE: This photo taken on April 15, 2021 shows a member (R) of the “Fashion Grandmas” in the TV studio after their performance on the China Central Televison (CCTV) show called “Xingguang Dadao” Photo: NOEL CELIS / AFP

BEIJING – China on Thursday banned reality shows and ordered broadcasters to promote more masculine portrayals of men, as part of a sweeping crackdown on “immoral” pop culture, according to Beijing, misguiding young people.

Talent shows that put hundreds of young, aspiring performers through rigorous training camps and put them to the public votes have become massively popular in China, drawing criticism from obsessive fans and bad role models.

“Broadcasting and television institutions should not broadcast idol development programs or variety and reality shows,” said China’s broadcasting regulator, National Radio and Television Administration , in a series of new regulations.

The regulator has ordered broadcasters to resist “anomalous aesthetics” such as “sissy” men, “vulgar influencers”, inflated star salaries and artists with “fallen mores”.

Faced with falling birth rates, Chinese authorities have attempted to instill traditional male values ​​in the country’s youth by stepping up gym classes and criticizing male performers who model the effeminate look of Korean pop idols.

Instead, broadcasters were urged to “strongly promote outstanding traditional Chinese culture … and advanced socialist culture.”

Popular Chinese blogger Feng Xiaoyi had his account suspended by Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok – last week for “promoting unhealthy values” after some users complained about his “sissy” videos.

Video streaming site iQiyi announced last week that it would cancel all future idol talent shows in development.

Authorities have launched a broad crackdown on questionable financial practices and “immoral” conduct in the entertainment industry after numerous scandals involving some of the country’s top artists in recent months.

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was fined $ 46 million for tax evasion last week, while Chinese-Canadian pop star and former idol Kris Wu was arrested on rape allegations.

At the same time, regulators have pledged to curb the behaviors of “chaotic” Chinese fandoms, such as what they see as irrational celebrity worship.

Beijing TV regulators abruptly took over hugely popular idol talent show Youth with you 3 off the air in May, after fans resorted to buying and dumping massive amounts of yogurt to vote for their favorite candidates.

Such shows often entice fans to purchase sponsored products to vote, but new regulations prohibit the practice.

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