Government Crackdowns on Chinese Pop

Chinese-Pop, despite its popularity within China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, is rarely though of in the rest of the world. The genre lies continually in the shadows of the longstanding J-Pop, and the now booming K-Pop industries, although it has in recent years drawn more attention.

C-Pop has drawn an increasing amount of attention in recent years as it has come under the eye of government scrutiny for its “moral divergence”. The government, under Xi Jinping’s regime, has pushed for a return to more traditional Confucian morals, which argues a loyalty to hierarchy, and is used as a rejection of Western influence, and has recently turned its attention towards “cleansing” Chinese popular culture.

Back in January of 2018, the Chinese media regulator came out with an edict that said Chinese TV shows “should not feature actors with tattoos (or depict) hip hop culture, sub-culture and immoral culture,” in essence bringing the growing heyday of Chinese hip hop to a grinding halt. Hip Hop, which originated in the urban black population in the US, is a prime target for the “moral straightening” program that the Chinese government is aiming to implement, as it exists as the epitome of Western influence

Another, more recent possible act by the government, was the blurring of men’s pierced ears in January 2019. Both actors and C-Pop singers alike are now appearing on TV with blurred earlobes, which almost immediately drew criticisms from fans. The fans argued that the blurring of earrings, which was never explicitly implemented by the government (although most likely heavily suggested) reinforced the traditional, outdated standards of beauty for men and women.

In the regions outside of the major cities, the move to blur the earrings for the most part seems to have support, as traditional beliefs of hierarchy and gender still dominate. Men wearing earrings, to the rural population, was seen as “degrading” to the social status and strength of men.

The government is suspected with having a heavy hand in the decision to blur the earrings, as it would be another feature of the “moral straightening” of Chinese pop culture, and would function as a rejection again of Western culture.

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