China’s state television has banned anything related or directly linked to hip hop and tattoos from national television. According to Sina, a Chinese news outlet, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture)”.
Gao Changli, the director of the administration’s publicity department, outlined the following four “Don’t” rules on Friday:
“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”.
According to Time, this move follows an on-going censoring and removing of China’s hip-hop artists from the state’s media.
Prominent rapper GAI was removed from Hunan TV’s Singer, a hit competition show. Clips of GAI, whose real name is Zhou Yan, were also removed from China Hunan TV’s official Youtube Channel.
Wang Hao, aka PG One, another well-known rapper, was forced to apologize earlier this month after one of his songs, “Christmas Eve,” was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women.
Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was cut from the variety show Happy Camp, according to Tencent News. Music by Triple H, an influential underground rapper, has also been removed from major streaming sites. And a contestant on the show Super Brian, which is not hip-hop related, even had his hip-hop style necklace blurred out.
Reuters reports that this is not the first time the State has censored content directed at hip-hop culture and music. In 2015, China’s culture ministry banned 120 songs – mostly rap – for “promoting obscenity, violence, crime or threatening public morality.”
Reuters adds that this move is deeper than hip-hop, and “underscores a broader clean-up of cultural content from video games, online streaming and even performance art amid a drive to make cultural products adhere to mainstream socialist core values”.
The Chinese government knows that popular culture is a key driver in shaping public opinion, to the point that one influential state-run tabloid Global Times said that hip-hop – which it called a “tool for people to vent their anger, misery, complaints” – did not suit China and “cannot thrive” here.
What are your thoughts on this move, especially as it relates to African Americans and Black culture, as Black people are the pioneers of and trendsetters in hip-hop and its associated culture?