China Further Censors Television

Online television in China is being subject to the same censorship as regular Chinese TV shows.


Clay Vesser

China censors online TV.

Clay Vesser, Tom Tom Staff

Chinese authorities have been cracking down on television these past few years, and now they are expanding the censorship to online TV programs. This recent crackdown on online Chinese television seems to be in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2014 speech at the Forum for Literature and Art, in which he said artists should not be “slaves” to the market and to create art to serve the people.

The new regulations for online television include prohibiting depictions of gay relationships, smoking, witchcraft, reincarnation and underage romance. Also banned are any scenes of war or historical events that the Chinese government believes would “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” or “harm the unity and sovereignty of the country and its territorial integrity.” Popular video websites such as iQiyi and Youk, are being challenged immensely by the new regulations because they have previously benefited from the relative lack of government regulation of online television. A popular web drama on IQiyi, “Addiction”, was just pulled offline by regulators because it was about a romance between two high school boys, and it was the second most viewed series.

Online video television is still on the rise in China, it went from around 200 shows with 800 episodes in 2013, to about 805 shows with 12,000 episodes, but these recent regulations from the government may drive some watchers away.