China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) promulgated a set of guidelines aimed at ending the casting of actors and guests with “effeminate aesthetics,” among other trends, and instead promoting “traditional Chinese, revolutionary and socialist culture.”
The document stipulates that the media not hire actors and guests with “incorrect political positions” or that are contrary to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or the nation. The agency also seeks to end the participation of minors in variety or reality shows.
In order to eliminate or favor contestants, some programs organize votes in which the public participates by buying products according to the character they support, a practice that the new regulations aim to put an end to.
The administration also targets, and calls for the rejection of, the ostentation of wealth, the phenomenon of influencers and gossip.
Instead, the agency wants to promote “traditional Chinese, revolutionary and socialist culture.” Last week and in a similar vein, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced measures to put an end to what it defined as “chaos” in the virtual culture of celebrity followers, against which the NRTA statement also spoke out.
Celebrity fan groups in China have been at the center of harassment-related incidents in the past. Recently, official media have reported multiple celebrity-related scandals, such as the arrest for alleged rape of popular Sino-Canadian singer Kris Wu.
Shortly after the arrest, more than 60 celebrities in the country were summoned by NRTA for a two-day course that provided content on professional ethics, law and also on the history of the ruling CCP.
On August 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for regulating and adjusting “excessively high” and “unreasonable” incomes, and the NRTA statement calls for “rejecting the high salaries” of some productions and the practice of tax evasion in the audiovisual sector.
Last week, authorities in the eastern city of Shanghai announced a fine of 299 million yuan (US$46 million) for tax evasion against popular actress Zheng Shuang and the NRTA decided to withdraw from broadcasting all productions in which the actress appeared.