Late January, China banned celebrities and symbols related to hip-hop generally from television.
The ban states, “programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, subculture (non-mainstream culture), and dispirited culture (decadent culture),” according to a report by Time Magazine.
The country’s largest media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China, also released a list of “don'ts” pertaining to hip-hop culture, and referred to the genre as “tasteless” and “vulgar”.
SAPPRFT reasons that this action was taken order to preserve the Chinese Communist Party.
“Never use performers who aren’t psychologically and morally aligned with the party,” said
spokesman Gao Changli. So, stating rhymes over a beat equates to being anti-communist?
This ban comes directly after well-known Chinese rapper PG ONE publicly apologized after releasing a song that encourages drug use and for having made degrading statements about women back in December.
Another Chinese rapper, GAI, also was removed from the popular Chinese TV show “Singer” for an unknown reason.
This is not China’s first attempt at getting rid of rap music and related cultural symbols. In 2015, the country’s Ministry of Culture banned a list of mostly rap music, because it promotes “obscenity, violence, crime, or [threatens] public morality.”
It is also not the first time China has done something of this nature. Of course, China’s “Great Firewall,” a mass censorship of the internet, has been in place since the 1990’s. Now, rap music and culture can be added to the long list of unpermitted content.
Is this ban a violation of the rights of Chinese citizens?
In the U.S., rap music is an incredibly popular genre, with a diverse audience. Indeed, there are songs with questionable lyrics and explicit content, but does that justify censorship of all hip-hop culture?