China To Ban Karaoke Songs With ‘Illegal Content’
China is set to ban a number of songs containing ‘illegal content’ at karaoke venues across the country.
Under these new laws, which will come into effect from October 1 onwards, venues must prohibit songs believed to endanger national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity.
This blacklist, announced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, also includes tracks thought to violate state religious policies by propagating cults and superstitions or which encourage illegal activities such as gambling and drugs.
As reported by Reuters, content providers to karaoke venues will now be held responsible for auditing the tracks before these are supplied to the venues.
Given there are almost 50,000 entertainment outlets across the country with a music library exceeding 100,000 songs, it’s tricky for venue operators to identify illegal songs.
The ministry has instead encouraged content providers to distribute ‘healthy and uplifting’ music to such venues.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, Angeli Datt, senior research analyst for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Freedom House, noted the ban was being proposed straight after the governing party’s centenary celebrations, timing which she regards as no coincidence.
Targeting karaoke song libraries is part of a broader attempt to extend the Chinese government’s vast information control system into every facet of the entertainment industry.
In proposing to ban songs on national security or ‘violating social ethics’ grounds, authorities will censor content that it deems foreign, religious, or politically sensitive while trying to promote a traditional and conservative culture with the party at the centre.
China enforces strict regulations when it comes to content such as violence, pornography, or which is deemed to be politically sensitive commentary. In recent months, vloggers have been punished after live streaming to video platforms for creating content deemed to be ‘low taste’.
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