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China censors homosexuality and other “unhealthy” content on television

Image credit: www.fastcompany.com
Image credit: www.fastcompany.com
Image credit: www.fastcompany.com

The Chinese state has censored televised depictions of homosexuality and of other “abnormal” activities as part of several reforms to its broadcasting.

In the light of several conservative reforms to Chinese broadcasting it is now considered that homosexuality, adultery and “sexual perversion” are unsuitable themes and events for the Chinese population to see. One show, Addicted, known for depicting the lives of homosexual couples in China, was removed after being described by the China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television as a promoter of abnormal sexual relationships and practice.

The Chengdu Committee for the Well-being of Youth and Teenagers found in a poll of 20,000 Chinese viewers that 93% were not happy with the show’s abrupt cancellation.

Elsewhere, visualisations of witchcraft, incest, reincarnation and superstition have been banned. Smoking, excessive drinking and substance abuse are also questionable topics, with the regulators being concerned about how young viewers may be influenced by the content. The state is also not keen on broadcasting particular scenes in police dramas that might demonstrate to real-life criminals the fictional policemen’s strategies.

The state regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is said to be keeping a close eye on the content of the country’s television programmes.

Elsewhere, tight regulation exists all over Chinese social media, with criticism of the government and its politics unwelcome. Several outside websites are either heavily edited or wholly censored by the state.

Homosexuality became legal in China in 1997 and in 2001 the Chinese state’s Ministry of Health no longer considered it a mental ailment; but it is evident that members of China’s LGBTQ community have little to no defence against discrimination.