China has moved to ban cartoons containing violent content and those with “bad plots,” in a move to promote “truth, goodness, and beauty.”
In a move that should shock no one, China is stepping up its efforts to impose morality and virtue onto the entertainment the country produces and allows for public consumption. China previously banned “sissy men” from appearing on television with the issuance of new broadcasting regulations to “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture, and advanced socialist culture,” as previously reported by Rebel News.
On Friday, China’s National Radio and Television Administration, the country’s broadcasting authority, announced a ban on cartoons and TV shows primarily produced for children that contain violence, blood, vulgarity, or pornography.
According to the orders, TV channels must “resolutely resist bad plots,” and broadcast “excellent cartoons with healthy content and promote truth, goodness, and beauty,” the agency said in a statement.
"Children and adolescents are the main audience groups of cartoons," the agency added, stating that broadcasters should set up special TV channels for children that enable an environment for "the healthy growth of young people."
According to CNN, the regulation applies to all cartoons on television, as well as those streamed on the internet. The authority did not name any specific shows, but networks wasted little time in enforcing the new regulation by banning Ultraman Tiga, a Japanese live-action series that features a giant man in a suit who battles monsters. The show was promptly removed from China’s online streaming platforms.
Chinese state media Global Times suggested that its removal was due to the show’s violent fight scenes and explosions, which often depicted the destruction of Japanese cities.
Chinese fans of Ultraman proceeded to complain about the censorship on Weibo, prompting it to trend throughout the social media platform. One popular complaint received more than a million likes before it was deleted. Despite efforts to censor conversation on the topic, the hashtag over the removal of Ultraman has been viewed more than 84-million times.
Some users pointed out that the government’s enforcement of its morality-based censorship laws was hypocritical due to selective enforcement, with many citing the Four Classic Novels, highly influential works written between the 14th to 18th centuries that are considered pillars of Chinese literature. The novels contain extensive descriptions and plot lines revolving around war, murder, and even romance. One of the novels, Journey to the West has been adapted into movies, video games, and is even taught to children in Chinese schools.
China’s efforts to crack down on supposed capitalist influences in Chinese society come amid the country’s struggle to keep up with its outsized economic growth and lack of social development in a culture ravaged by earlier implementations of Marxist ideology.