Throughout the second half of last year, Chinese social media users went all in for the country’s latest online trend, “short video” apps, on which users can quickly post and share videos on any subject, generally lasting between 15 seconds and a minute or two, with approximately one of every 10 people regularly viewing content from the most popular of the short video apps, Douyin, or as it known in countries other than China, Tik Tok, according to a CNBC report.
The explosion in short video viewing was so sudden that the notoriously censorship-fixated government of China did not even get around to figuring out how to censor the newly popular medium—until Wednesday of this week, when the official “China Netcasting Services Association” published an extensive new set of censorship rules for short video apps that covers a wide variety of subjects to be restricted—including, predictably, what the CNSA calls “obscene pornography.”
The range of “obscene” content now restricted by the new censorship rules, in general, prohibits the depiction of “vulgar low level” activities as being “fun,” as well as the promotion of “unhealthy and non-mainstream content of marriage and love.”
More specifically, according to a report by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the new rules ban an extensive range of sexual content from foot fetish videos to “sexual moaning,” as well as “kissing, caressing, showering, and nipples visible under clothing,” or for that matter, any type of sex-related content presented “simply for sensory stimulation purposes.”
Since current Chinese President Xi Jinping took control of the Chinese government in 2013, censorship of both sexual and political content online—and in all media—has been amped up considerably. Sex education videos are already heavily censored in China, and one major Chinese social media platform recently banned all “homosexual content,” according to the journal Foreign Policy.
“When we started … we could talk about orgasms, penises, vaginas, but there is no way we could talk about that now,” Chang Mengran, founder of the sex education video site Wei Zai Bu Dong Ai (Tiny Doesn’t Know Love) told Foreign Policy.
The new CNSA censorship rules also ban a wide range of social and political subject matter, such as satirical videos that “ridicule, satirize, oppose, defame the socialist mode, theory, system, and culture with Chinese characteristics, and the country’s major principles and policies,” according to a Yahoo! News report.
Short videos which “weaken, deviate, attack, or vilify the leadership of the Communist Party of China,” will also now be censored, under the new rules.
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