The people who run the Communist Party of China are a prickly bunch when it comes to any kind of criticism. And thanks to the Great Firewall of China, its subjects don’t have access to vast swaths of the Internet. Facebook, for example. Or Twitter. Local facsimiles of those services are heavily monitored and censored, too.
The ruling Commies are also suspicious of any sort of artistic expression that might be deemed subversive. This includes hip-hop.
The problem seems to stem from the insane popularity of a rap singing competition called The Rap of China, a 12-episode online production that has attracted nearly 3 billion views. Apparently, sour people from the government were among the viewers.
A new edict has come down from Beijing: All hip-hop culture–music, dress, dance, everything–has been banned from television. This comes directly from The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT. Seriously.)
From now on, requirements for approved programming “requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture).”
There are some even more specific rules:
- “Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble.
- “Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene.
- “Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class.
- “Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.”
Obviously, a lot of Chinese rappers are impacted by this. Many of them have already had TV experiences cancelled and YouTube videos pulled. The only ones who seem exempt are those works that praise the Chinese Communist Party.
This isn’t the first time the government has clamped down on music. In 2015, 120 songs were banned, most of which were of the hip-hop variety.