China’s media regulator has cracked down on online video spoofs and parodies, according to state-run media outlet Xinhua.
Video sites now must ban any videos that “distort, mock, or defame classical literary and art works,” the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television stated in a directive yesterday. Reuters noted that the directive was marked “extra urgent,” which is uncommon and means that citizens must comply immediately or risk being shut down by authorities. The directive only applies to online videos, but since China largely has control of its film and television industries, one wouldn’t expect to see mocking parodies there to begin with.
The directive also said that videos must promote the “fine traditional Chinese culture” and its concepts of “love, emphasis on the people, integrity, justice, harmony, and no worshiping of money or other bad habits.” The language sounds similar to China’s directive from last July which banned films and blogs that weren’t “socialist” enough.
Chinese regulators have ramped up censorship efforts, while parliament ruled to remove President Xi Jinping’s 10-year term limit recently, meaning that Xi can now rule indefinitely. Anything that could be remotely perceived as anti-government has been censored in the past few weeks, as locals’ frustration over Xi’s possible lifetime rule grows.
The new rule comes a little over a week after a Chinese reporter’s eye-roll went viral during the National People’s Congress, sprouting memes, spoofs, and GIFs all over social media. The moment was particularly notable since the Congress is usually buttoned-up and uneventful. Chinese censors quickly banned mentions of the eye-roll on social platforms.
JustXiaIt, a parody group known for dubbing over clips from movies, said on Weibo, as first spotted by Reuters, that it would delete all videos to clean up, inspect themselves, improve, and “make the program more in line with relevant laws and regulations.”