China slams incorrect politics in show biz

·2-min read

China has told broadcasters to shun artists with "incorrect political positions" and effeminate styles, and said a "patriotic atmosphere" needed to be cultivated, as part of a wider crackdown on its booming entertainment industry.

China's communist authorities can censor anything they believe violates core socialist values, and already have stringent rules on content ranging from video games to movies to music.

The latest moves cracking down on the entertainment industry come in the wake of a series of celebrity scandals involving tax evasion and sexual assault.

Two government ministries and an industry association published fresh guidelines on Thursday, including the National Radio and Television Administration.

The NRTA, a ministry level body, said it will strengthen regulation over stars' salaries and punish tax evaders. It also said it would weed out any content in cultural programs that it deems to be unhealthy.

Last week, China's internet regulator said it was taking action against what it described as a "chaotic" celebrity fan culture.

The selection of actors and guests should be carefully controlled, with political literacy and moral conduct included as criteria, NRTA said, adding that performers should be encouraged to participate in public welfare programs and assume social responsibilities.

The notice also said that programs portraying "effeminate" behaviour and other content deemed "warped" should be stopped, along with shows built around scandals, ostentatious wealth and "vulgar" internet celebrities.

Unhealthy fan culture should be deterred, and strict controls placed on programs with voting segments, and any that encourage fans to spend money to vote should be forbidden, it added.

After years of runaway growth in the world's second largest economy, regulators have been to trying to strengthen control over Chinese society by tightening oversight over a broad swathe of industries ranging from technology to education. They have urged for measures to be taken to reduce gaping inequality.

Separate notices also published on Thursday by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the China Association of Performing Arts said that performers, such as livestreaming stars, should undergo periodic training on professional ethics while agencies should terminate contracts with performers who "lack moral discipline."

Besides criticising the culture of celebrity worship, authorities and state media have criticised male stars who favour heavy make up and project a feminine image, saying Chinese boys should become more manly.

Chinese celebrities have attended government-arranged courses to learn about Communist Party history and carried out "self criticism" in the past two months in response to the crackdown.

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