China Bans “Effeminate” Men in Media


Dominic Rascati, Copy Chief

New rules emerge from the Chinese government as the nation commits to a new cultural vision and enforces harsh media bans. President Xi Jinping has previously stressed a “national rejuvenation,” now after what the government calls “effeminate men” in the media.

Much of this is being pushed by regulators of Chinese television, who wish to “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” such as “vulgar internet celebrities.”

This comes as the rich and famous are now in the crosshairs of the Chinese Communist Party. They are seen as counter to the revolutionary and patriotic spirit of the country. For example, actress Zheng Shuang recently paid a fine equivalent to $46 million due to tax evasion.

If going after stars directly wasn’t enough, social media platform Weibo has also suspended 22 different fan accounts dedicated to K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink.

However, fan mobilization and celebrity culture has seen significant increases and tangible political effects worldwide. For example, here in the United States, K-pop fans caused a stir at a campaign rally for Donald Trump, organizing their huge communities to buy tickets to the rally and not attend. Digitally as well, K-pop fan groups have overwhelmed conservative hashtags that oppose social movements like Black Lives Matter.

Digital mobilization is a great fear for the Chinese government, particularly regarding the fervor that fans feel for celebrities. A watchdog for the Chinese Communist Party recently came out against celebrity culture in a statement, saying, “If not guided and changed, it’ll have a huge destructive impact on the future life of young people and social morality.”

Nevertheless, some voices worldwide see this as nothing new and nothing more than a cultural power grab for the Party. Professor Lynette Ong of the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute said that actions and announcements like these are “part of Xi’s latest efforts to ‘cleanse’ what he or the CCP sees as undesirable social culture” and “evidence of the Party’s ever encroaching role into the lives of ordinary people.”

Time will tell how the actions of the Chinese government continue to play out and shift the greater cultural landscape of the nation.