China’s government last week published new guidelines for TV broadcasts, video games and streaming platforms with a message to enforce official morality. The regulations involve what the National Radio and TV Administration itself describes as “resolutely putting an end to sissy men and other abnormal aesthetics”, according to NPR.

Officials are apparently concerned that Chinese pop stars and celebrities are influencing China’s young men to be ‘too effeminate’. The policy bans “niang pao”, a derogatory Chinese slur that literally translates to “girlie guns” on TV and streaming platforms. 

A complete exclusion of men who do not conform to the traditional masculine gender expression from TV will, according to Chinese officials, eradicate the appearance of a variety of the country’s pop stars influenced by South Korean and Japanese celebrities. The plug is likely to be pulled on the many actors and performers, as they were found to be failing to encourage China’s young men to be masculine enough.

The ban is part of President Xi Jinping’s tighter control of business, education, culture and religion announced last week, including limited hours on online usage for children. The campaign aims to align with the Communist Party’s vision for a more powerful China.

Punch In The Gut For Chinese LGBTQAI+ Community

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Image: Embassy of The People’s Republic Of China In The US Facebook page.

The ban of “effeminate” men on TV is far from the first attack toward LGBTQAI+ persons in China. Earlier this year, China’s leading social media platform, WeChat, removed various LGBTQAI+ accounts belonging to queer student clubs at Chinese universities. The accounts functioned as safe spaces for queer students in a country where same-sex marriage is still illegal.

Just a couple of months after the WeChat incident, another story from Shanghai University came forward, telling about how the university was asked to investigate and research students identifying as LGBTQ+, according to The Guardian.

Although the survey conducted was posing as a research study on the LGBTQ+ students’ psychological condition, political stance and social contacts, the episode sparked alarm amongst the young queer people, concerned about whether the information gathered could lead to the further targeting of the students.

Homosexuality in China was decriminalised in 1997 and was, up until 2001, classified as a ‘mental disorder’.


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