The Chinese government has never been shy about censorship. Internet giants like Google, Facebook and YouTube are all blocked in the country, as are thousands of other websites, including Twitter, Instagram and The New York Times.
But even by Chinese standards, the government’s latest attempt at censorship is pretty extreme.
Last month, government censors blocked a popular drama called Addicted, preventing people from streaming it online in China. The show, which had millions of viewers before it was pulled, chronicles the lives of four teenage boys, including storylines that involve same-sex relationships.
In a statement, the government said that the show had been blocked because it violates new TV regulations — specifically, a rule that states, “No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviours, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on.”
The new regulations, which were announced by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) earlier this year, seek to ban any content that, “exaggerates the dark side of society.” According to The Guardian, “The ban also extends to smoking, drinking, adultery, sexually suggestive clothing, even reincarnation.”
Shortly after the government announced the new rules, Chinese producers were informed that SAPPRFT agents would be monitoring TV channels around the clock to ensure that, “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” is not being broadcast.
Besides Addicted, a number of other popular shows have been blocked in China since the new rules were implemented.