China Has Just Banned ‘Tasteless, Vulgar And Obscene’ Hip Hop From TV
According to Time magazine, China has recently banned hip-hop culture (and people with tattoos) from its television. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) has decided that ‘programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture),’ as it was reported by Sina, a Chinese news outlet.
As a result, prominent rapper GAI from Hunan TV’s Singer, a hit competition show, was removed from China Hunan TV’s official Youtube Channel, without any explanation, and the Time also reports that another rapper named Wang Hao, aka PG One, ‘was forced to apologize earlier this month after one of his songs, “Christmas Eve,” was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women’. Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was also cut from the variety show Happy Camp, and any music by rapper Triple H has also been removed from major streaming sites.
There is basically a war against hip-hop and everything associated with the culture is regarded as ‘tasteless, vulgar and obscene’. Here are the new rules according to the article:
‘Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity’
Which means everybody can be banned, right? What does ‘tasteless’ or ‘vulgar’ or ‘obscene’ mean? It is obviously subject to any interpretation, and people in power can decide basically to ban whatever they want according to these rules.
Should we be surprised this is coming from China? Censorship is obviously the traits of an authoritarian regime and banning hip hop is a way to ban American culture (the enemy), and more precisely African American culture. The last time we heard about ‘degenerate’ art and culture, it was coming from the Nazis, which says a lot about China today: it is basically 1930s Germany, a totalitarian regime, which at the end won’t win.
I obviously know nothing about Chinese rappers, but there is a strong emerging underground scene over there and the hip hop culture has suddenly become prominent in China. And last time I read about hip hop and China in the same sentence, it was an announcement that Rolling Loud, the all-hip hop festival, was expanding to foreign countries such as China and Japan! Which was probably the proof the hip hop culture was prominent in China too. So far the ban in China seems to concern TV and other media like streaming channels, but who knows where this will go? Will Rolling Loud be happening there after these new rules?
I watched a bit of Chinese hip hop on Youtube, just to get an idea of what I was writing about, and Chinese hip hop looks like a complete copycat of American hip hop, it’s Chinese people with dreadlocks, with more or less aggressive and even xenophobic feelings: this Fat Shady’s ‘Fuck Off Foreigners’ is pretty awful and also ridiculous because the guy sounds and looks like a perfect replica of these foreigners he is screaming about.
The irony is that this story arrives at a time when hip hop reigns supreme on the entire planet, when it has become the most listened genre in America. Banning hip hop seems to be the most stupid thing to do first because it goes against a world-wide movement and will isolate China from the rest of the world even more, then because banning never works and will only give a new name to underground hip hop in Beijing