Chinese Government Announces Strict Restrictions on Entertainment Industry

On September 2, the Chinese government announced eight restrictions on entertainment activities in China. The regulations include bans on idol training programs, reality shows featuring the children of celebrities, and male celebrities who do not have the old-fashioned masculine image, and a major transformation in the Chinese entertainment industry is expected in the future.

In order to “clearly establish the industry’s virtue and artistic spirit,” the Chinese government has stated that the first criteria for selecting talent to appear in the programs will be “political quality, moral character, artistic standards and social reputation. “It will also regulate participation in netizenbuzz social activities and disclosure of information on the Internet.

As for programming, the aforementioned idol cultivation programs, dramas and reality programs featuring children of celebrities should not be broadcast. In addition, “programs in which viewers vote off-camera” will not be aired, and some of these programs encourage viewers to buy products from the program’s partners before they vote.

In addition, so-called “feminine” celebrities, who are described as “daunting” in the traditional sense, will not be allowed to appear on the show. The Chinese government also plans to ban gossip and “vulgar internet celebrities” on the grounds that they are overly popular. The Chinese government has often expressed its opposition to men wearing make-up and ornaments that are considered “feminine” and has been criticized by the public on social media each time.

In addition to the above, the government will put a stop to the skyrocketing remuneration in the film industry, strictly punish tax evasion and “yin-yang contracts,” strengthen the responsibility of management, and educate critics, journalists, broadcasters, and the industry as a whole on the “correct political direction, public opinion, and values,” as well as on ideology, politics, and professional ethics.

In these eight points, the personalities of the celebrities are emphasized again and again. In recent years in the Chinese entertainment industry, Lucas Wong, a Hong Kong native who was a member of the idol group NTC, was suspended after it was discovered that he was dating several women, and Kris Wu, a Chinese-Canadian former member of the idol group EXO, was arrested for sexually assaulting more than 30 women. In addition, the Chinese entertainment industry, especially the movie industry, has been experiencing a series of scandals and serious criminal cases.

In addition, tax evasion and money laundering are rampant in China’s entertainment industry, especially in the film industry. In 2018, popular Chinese actor Fan Bingbing was found to have evaded huge amounts of taxes through “yin-yang contracts” in which she made multiple appearance contracts to make her compensation appear lower than it actually was. After disappearing for several months, she paid about 14.6 billion yen and apologized on her SNS.

Tax evasion through yin-yang contracts has been a customary practice in the Chinese entertainment industry, but after the incident was discovered, the Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China and other authorities announced regulations regarding performance fees, such as setting the actor’s compensation at 40% of the production cost. The Chinese tax authorities have also decided to investigate the entertainment industry simultaneously. However, in May 2021, Chinese actor Zhen Xuan was found to have used the same method of tax evasion and was ordered to pay approximately 5.1 billion yen.

As China’s entertainment industry expands, actors’ compensation skyrockets. The government has often complained about the fact that a large number of Chinese citizens are pursuing careers in the entertainment industry, which offers more glamour and the possibility of earning higher incomes than careers related to more humble industries.

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