Pacific News Minute: Men’s Earrings Latest Target of Chinese Censorship

Jan 24, 2019

5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress | March 2017

Last year, Chinese media started to censor images of tattoos; now the Chinese version of Netflix has started to blur out earrings worn by men. It’s part of a campaign to make media images of masculinity conform to government standards.

Last September, the Chinese media giant Xinhua criticized young male pop stars as a generation of “sissy boys.”

“Sickly aesthetics,” Xinhua said, was having an adverse impact on teenagers and hurting China’s national image.

In June, 2017, a regulation enforced by the China Netcasting Services Association barred “abnormal sexual behaviors, including homosexuality.” According to The Guardian, earlier this month, video streaming regulations prohibited material that promoted “non-mainstream views of love and marriage.”

Last year, members of China’s national soccer team wore bandages to conceal their tattoos and a tattooed Albanian singer was excised from the Chinese broadcast of the Eurovision song contest. Now the popular streaming service iQiyi has begun to blur out earrings worn by young male stars.

According to Beijing Youth Daily it’s part of a crackdown on what it called effeminate male celebrities. There appear to be no specific regulations on tattoos or earrings but Professor Yuk Ping Choi of the Chinese University of Hong Kong told Australia’s ABC that Chinese media outlets are expected to self-sensor.

The hashtag “Male TV Stars Can't Wear Earrings” has been viewed more than 470 million times this past week on Weibo, China’s Twitter.

One user wrote: “They should appear in public with a more positive appearance.”

Another asked: “Do earrings impede the core values of socialism?”