News out of China last week is that China’s top media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT), is proposing a ban that would prevent entertainers with tattoos or those that borrow elements from hip-hop culture, subculture (non-mainstream culture) and demotivational culture (decadent culture) from appearing on television.
While no official regulations have been published yet, Sina Entertainment first reported on the decision on January 19th in Chinese, which detailed that Gao Changli (高长力), the director of the administration’s publicity department, recommended that radio and television stations should follow four rules when selecting guests. They are as follows:
1. Never use actors who are at odds with core values of the Party and lack high moral standards.
2. Never use actors who are indecent, obscene, or vulgar.
3. Never use actors who have low ideological level and no class.
4. Never use actors who have stains, affairs, or moral issues.
Rumors are also circulating that the SAPPRFT could further downright ban all Chinese hip-hop singers from television. One of China’s more well-known rappers was forced to withdraw from the latest season of 'I am a Singer', Hunan TV’s singing competition show, just last week with a video of his initial performance wiped from the web.
Another Chinese rapper, who goes by Wang Hao 王昊, a.k.a. PG One, was also publicly scrutinized for his use of vulgar and lewd lyrics with one outlet reporting that the sanctions were a result of "bad behavior or content at odds with Communist Party values." Songs produced by artists from Triple H 红花会 (Hóng Huā Huì), an influential hip-hop community, were also recently removed from Chinese streaming platforms amid the backlash prompting fears that censors are already in motion.
Going further back, even Justin Beiber was stopped from performing in the country last year with the Municipal Bureau of Culture citing it was “not appropriate” following previous shows that created “public dissatisfaction.” Shortly thereafter, a promoter of concerts aimed at bringing Grammy-Award winning artists to the country said that they would only “promote artists with a positive and healthy image.”
China's official state run news agency, called Xinhua, added that “we should say ‘no’ to whoever provides a platform for low-taste content.”
While unofficial, further rumors also suggest that even the Chinese Students and Scholars Associations in the U.S. have been told not to feature rap in their shows.
All in all, the future of hip-hop is looking grim in China with youth dissent and free expression long under fire in the country.