China bans online parody videos that ‘distort, mock, or defame’

Tomas Roggero/Flickr (CC-BY)

China wants its videos to promote ‘fine traditional Chinese culture.’

A month after China did away with presidential term limits, basically installing President Xi Jinping in power for as long as he wants, the country’s media regulator is going after people who create online video parodies.

According to the state-run media outlet Xinhua, via the Verge, sites must not display videos that “distort, mock, or defame classical literary and art works.” That comes from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on Friday in a directive that was marked extra urgent, meaning the country must comply right away.

More from Reuters:

Industry insiders say the sweeping crackdown on media content, which has been gaining force since last year, is having a chilling effect on content makers and distributors.


“It means a lot of content makers will have to transition and make their content more serious. For ‘extra urgent’ notice like this, you have to act immediately,” said Wu Jian, a Beijing-based analyst.


“Those who don’t comply in time will immediately be closed down,” Wu said.

One example of the new censorship rules occurred when a video of a Chinese reporter making an exaggerated eyeroll during a press conference recentlywent viral and became an enormous meme. Reuters wrote that after the eyeroll went viral on Chinese social media, the government ordered it censored.

As the Verge noted, the government explains that videos must promote “fine traditional Chinese culture” along with placing an emphasis on “the people, integrity, justice, harmony, and no worshiping of money or other bad habits.”

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.