Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chinese TV Now Even More Boring

Back in 2011 I wrote about China's attempts to ban everything interesting on television. The guidelines issued back then prohibited basically all science fiction and fantasy, leaving viewers stuck with shows about ordinary people doing ordinary things. But apparently, even that wasn't good enough for Chinese censors. Now, in addition to prohibiting anything speculative or paranormal, the latest guidelines prohibit all sorts of things ordinary people do as well.

Under government's General Principle of Television Drama Production Content - which was released in December - producers will be urged to avoid prohibited content, according to Li Jingsheng, chief of television drama under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

This will include storylines which are seen as promoting superstitions - such as reincarnation, witchcraft and spiritual procession.

It also extends to content which is deemed to promote promiscuity, including 'pornographic' scenes or shows that display "abnormal sexual relationships or sexual behaviour".

Affairs and one night stands are also understood to be banned under the initiative, as well as teen romances, smoking, fighting and more.

So now Chinese television is stuck showing ordinary people doing ordinary things, as long as none of those things include smoking, fighting, or having relationships - unless said relationship consists of two opposite-sex adults married to each other (and, apparently, who never fight). How the heck is anything dramatic supposed to happen? I suppose that's kind of the idea, but I have a hard time imagining anybody wanting to watch the sort of content that would actually pass these restrictions.

This is exactly why I'm so down on people who want to censor American television. Once censorship gains a foothold, where does it stop? That argument is sometimes derided by censorship fans as a slippery slope fallacy, but right here we have a real-world example of just how far this sort of thing can slide.

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