The Chinese government continues to grow stricter on what it allows in the entertainment section. Last week The National Radio and Television Administration said that programs aimed at kids, including cartoons such as anime, would be prohibited if they have any “violence, blood, vulgarity or pornography,” according to CNN.
Programming is still allowed if it’s “excellent cartoons with healthy content and promotes truth, goodness and beauty.” The ruling affects both shows on TV and those being streamed.
One of the first victims was Ultraman Tiga, which was pulled from streaming platforms. The Global Times, which is state-owned, didn’t outright say why it was removed, but guessed it had to do with fighting and explosions in the show.
Many Chinese netizens complained online. “So many people liked to watch the animation Tiga when they were young,” wrote one. “It not only [expresses] belief in the light, but it’s also my people’s childhood memories. Besides, it doesn’t bring people any negative impact.”
“Is this world either black or white?” someone else remarked online. “Isn’t it good to talk more about human nature?”
Another common argument was that if these shows are banned for these reasons, then China’s Four Classic Novels ought to be banned as well, because they also contain violence and sexuality.
Last spring, Chinese authorities came out against the anime Detective Conan (Case Closed), along with twenty other shows deemed bad for children’s development. The Western children’s programs My Little Pony and Pepa Pig were additionally on this list of subversive shows.
More recently, the Chinese government came out against what it considers “effeminate men,” and this in turn led to the banning of boys’ love online games. The government is informing entertainers and broadcasters what it considers acceptable, and this includes “national spirit” and “patriotic thinking.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.