tirsdag 28. desember 2021

China’s Cultural Crackdowns: A guide

As Beijing rejigs its debt-ridden economy by diktat this year, a parallel operation is emerging in the sphere of culture. Media regulators have banned the display of “effeminate men,” ordering broadcasters to promote content with “traditional Chinese culture” instead. They have also publicly shamed or silenced “morally corrupt” celebrities, and shuttered fan communities. In schools, education regulators are expunging classrooms of foreign influence such as foreign textbooks and English-language courses. At the same time, in an effort to “cultivate masculinity” in schools, they have hired more gym teachers and promoted sports programs. Broadly speaking, the Party has become ever more concerned over the future of Chinese youths, how they spend their time, the role models they look up to, and the kinds of content they are exposed to.

The new policies are part of larger currents that have existed for several years. Decades of history exist in China regarding celebrity crackdowns, enforced heteronormativity, and the prioritization of “traditional Chinese” culture over foreign aesthetics. This year, though, the rules have coalesced into a larger vision about society, its culture, and how youths should behave in what Xi Jinping has billed as “the new era.”