The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), one of China’s most important media censorship bodies, came up with a set of rules which if applied would forbid television shows from showing “abnormal sexual relations or sexual behavior” including homosexuality or “perversion”, writes Quartz in an article published today.
But the rules do not stop here. They also forbid shows which depict smoking, drinking, adultery, sexual freedom, and even reincarnation.
The rules are called “General Rules for Television Series Content Production” and they were first made public by SARFT on February 27 at the annual meeting of China’s television producers.
They are additions to another set of rules issued in 2010, but they include much more specific details on which themes should be banned. Following this, television production companies should “earnestly follow the regulations in the general rules, actively produce the content promoted by the general rules, and must not produce any content that is banned by general rules.”
The content which should be banned is detailed in article five of the rule, and it includes content which would damage the image of the country or show dark sides of society. The full list can be found in the Quartz article mentioned above.
The original 2010 rules did not include nearly anything which can be found in the new ones, and even though SARFT has published similar rules for online video, it is the first time this happens in television.
These rules come as an attempt to erase any depictions of homosexuality from China’s entertainment sector. If they were in fact to be enforced, many of China’s shows would have to be taken off the air.