Having a blog or a website in China might not be that simple. Last week, China introduced new media regulations in order to ban parodies and spoofs. According to Xinhua, a state-run media, websites that display video content are not allowed to feature any parody videos anymore.
The new directive comes after Chinese President announced changes to presidential term limits. President Xi Jinping was supposed to step down in 2023, however, the Communist Party decided to abolish the existing terms.
In addition, after the recent event, where one of the reporters was caught “eye-rolling” on the camera, Chinese authorities were not happy with the current publishing situation.
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television stated in the official release that any videos that “mock or defame classic literary and artworks” must be banned by video sites and are not allowed to be published online.
This decision was marked as “extra urgent” which means that it was effective immediately. In other words, the citizens must respect it, or they might be taken into custody if they refuse to comply.
As this directive applies to online videos, it is quite uncommon to see it marked as high priority, however, due to recent political situation and parodies related to the last week’s event, it seems as China wants to get rid of the online humor as soon as possible.
The new directive comes after Chinese reporter’s eye-roll video
As officials explained, the new directive focuses on the promotion of Chinese culture, harmony, and people. It comes just a week after the video of the eye-rolling reporter, which immediately went viral. The video quickly became the main topic of spoofs, GIF’s, parodies and Chinese Memes.
Chinese reporter, Liang Xiangyi rolled her eyes and expressed her unsatisfaction during a press conference at National People’s Congress, while another reporter was asking a question. According to her reaction, one might think that Liang thought that her colleague’s question is too long and not that interesting, so she expressed her obvious frustration with a good, old and pretty noticeable eye-roll.
During the conference, Liang, who works for a Shanghai business channel, was standing next to a fellow American reporter Zhang Huijun, who apparently asked a very long question while interviewing one of the regulators. This obviously did not fascinate Liang who appears to have forgotten that the cameras are rolling.
Not long after her reaction, the Internet was overwhelmed with creative memes, videos, and illustrations inspired by the unusual event. The situation escalated to the point that Chinese state-run media not only censored the video but also blocked web searches for the eye-rolling reporter, so Liang Xiangyi’s name was nowhere to be found online.
In addition, other reporters have also judged Liang’s behavior as unprofessional and explaining that in their line of business patience is mandatory and that this incident needs to be a lesson for her. On the other hand, some claimed that this ban is just a cheap move to censor any anti-government propaganda.
Any content that might violate the President’s image seems to be censored.
Many believe that the new directive’s goal is to enable government control over media, news, and publishing. China has been in the center of attention as the President Xi Jinping recently removed the presidential term limits. As Chinese media outlets report, any content displayed on the web must respect Chinese values, tradition, and people. Anything that mocks or defames, will be banned
Despite the censorship and strict publishing control, China is known for having a strong online community. Bloggers, vloggers and online publishers are used to responding to public events and breaking news with humoristic content like they did with Liang’s eye-rolling video. Sometimes, however, videos and posts do get taken down if they were considered or labeled as offending by the government officials.
In other words, Chinese content makers and editors will have to think twice before they post any funny or humoristic video content online. They will have to make sure that they are not breaking the new law or simply turn to more serious topics. If someone does violate the directive, they will “immediately be closed down”.