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China orders broadcasters to ban "sissy men" it deems aren't masculine enough for TV

China imposes strict gaming rules for minors
China imposes strict gaming rules for minors 06:08

China's government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday to promote "revolutionary culture," broadening a campaign to tighten control over business and society and enforce official morality.

President Xi Jinping has called for a "national rejuvenation," with tighter Communist Party control of business, education, culture and religion. Companies and the public are under increasing pressure to align with its vision for a more powerful China and healthier society.

The party has reduced children's access to online games and is trying to discourage what it sees as unhealthy attention to celebrities.

Broadcasters must "resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics," the National Radio and TV Administration said, using an insulting slang term for effeminate men - "niang pao," or literally, "girlie guns."

China TV Crackdown
Visitors walk past a display of posters for Chinese movie and television productions at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. China's government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday. Mark Schiefelbein / AP

That reflects official concern that Chinese pop stars, influenced by the sleek, fashionable look of some South Korean and Japanese singers and actors, are failing to encourage China's young men to be masculine enough.

Broadcasters should avoid promoting "vulgar internet celebrities" and admiration of wealth and celebrity, the regulator said. Instead, programs should "vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture."

Xi's government also is tightening control over Chinese internet industries.

It has launched anti-monopoly, data security and other enforcement actions at companies including games and social media provider Tencent Holding and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group that the ruling party worries are too big and independent.

Rules that took effect Wednesday limit anyone under 18 to three hours per week of online games and prohibit play on school days.

Reaction to the new gaming rules has been mixed. Some Beijing parents told CBS News they agreed that their children's time was better spent exercising or studying, while others criticized the move as government overreach into family life. 

"It seems to be part of a major push to really bring the government front and center into all elements of people's lives," Hong Kong-based technology and online media expert Paul Haswell told CBS News.   

A visit to a Chinese "detox" center for video... 03:11

Game developers already were required to submit new titles for government approval before they could be released. Officials have called on them to add nationalistic themes.

The party also is tightening control over celebrities.

Broadcasters should avoid performers who "violate public order" or have "lost morality," the regulator said. Programs about the children of celebrities also are banned.

On Saturday, microblog platform Weibo Corp. suspended thousands of accounts for fan clubs and entertainment news.

A popular actress, Zhao Wei, has disappeared from streaming platforms without explanation. Her name has been removed from credits of movies and TV programs.

Thursday's order told broadcasters to limit pay for performers and to avoid contract terms that might help them evade taxes.

Another actress, Zheng Shuang, was fined 299 million yuan ($46 million) last week on tax evasion charges in a warning to celebrities to be positive role models.

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