China’s media regulator is cracking down on video spoofs, the official Xinhua news agency reported, amid an intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
The decision comes after Xi cemented his power at a meeting earlier this month of the Chinese National People’s Congress by having presidential term limits scrapped and the ruling Chinese Communist Party tightened its grip on the media by handing control over film, news and publishing to its powerful publicity department.
Video sites must ban videos that “distort, mock or defame classical literary and artworks,” Xinhua said, citing a directive from the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on Thursday.
Reporters separately reviewed a copy of the directive, which was unusually labeled “extra urgent.”
Industry insiders have said the sweeping crackdown on media content, which has been gaining force since last year, is having a chilling effect on content makers and distributors.
“It means a lot of content makers will have to transition and make their content more serious. For an ‘extra urgent’ notice like this, you have to act immediately,” Beijing-based analyst Wu Jian said. “Those who don’t comply in time will immediately be closed down.”
A TV reporter’s theatrical eye roll during a long-winded question at a news conference stole the show during the congress’ session last week, exploding on Chinese social media before censors intervened.
A video of the eye roll became the source material for many parodies and satirical performances.
Despite strict censorship, China has a fairly lively online community of bloggers, who frequently respond to breaking events with humorous — and sometimes risque — sketches and short videos, although they often face their posts being taken down.
JustXiait, a team of Chinese parody bloggers famous for satirical dubbed-over videos from movies, said in an official microblog post that the group would voluntarily delete all videos “to conduct self-inspection, cleanup and improvement.”
The decision is “to make the program more in line with relevant laws and regulations, and to provide audience more interesting and wholesome programs,” it said.
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