China’s new regulations on online content have put a new slate of ideological taboos in the censors’ crosshairs—including homosexuality, the FT reports:
Sexual freedom, luxurious lifestyles and portrayals of Chinese imperialism are the latest targets of China’s crackdown on internet video content.
“Abnormal sexual lifestyles”, including homosexuality, are included among the 84 categories of topics that were banned from online video programmes by Chinese censors last week. “Unhealthy” views of the family, relationships, and money are also banned.
The detailed list is the first issued by government censors to cover the rapidly growing field of internet video, and comes after dozens of the country’s most popular entertainment channels were shut down in an online crackdown that started three weeks ago.
Nationalism and “healthy” family values are in, say the Chinese censors, while homosexuality and references to China’s past use of force against neighbors are out. And lest one think the guidelines were mere suggestions, the authorities have already begun to enforce them with severe force. As the FT reported last month, the government has already coerced top tech groups into deleting 300 mobile video platforms and firing 10,000 journalists who were in violation of the rules.
China has lately earned plaudits among Western liberal bien pensants for its paeans to the Paris agreement and rhetorical opposition to Trump’s protectionism. But China’s role as the liberal darling isn’t likely to last long as Xi turns key liberal beliefs into thought crimes.