Attendees of a Chinese entertainment industry symposium have been told to ensure they act with morality in both public and private, amid an intensive government crackdown on cultural sectors.
The meeting on Tuesday in Beijing, with the theme of “Love the party, love the country, advocate morality and art”, was attended by senior Communist party officials, who laid out new regulations on industry practice and the behaviour of celebrities, state media reported.
The symposium included an address by the head of China’s broadcast regulator, the National Radio and Television Administration, and gathered members of the television, radio, and online entertainment sector, who were told they must abide by social ethics, personal morality and family virtues.
According to state media reports, attendees heard they must ensure they “consciously abandon vulgar and kitsch inferior tastes, and consciously oppose the decadent ideas of money worship, hedonism, and extreme individualism”.
In recent weeks, the authorities have banned some reality shows, restricted social media fan culture, and ordered broadcasters to resist “abnormal aesthetics” such as “sissy” men. They have also targeted what they deem to be “vulgar influencers”, stars’ inflated pay and performers with “lapsed morals”.
The symposium heard from actors, directors and playwrights who spoke in support of the regulations.
“As a Chinese in the new era, a Chinese actor, and a Chinese literary and art worker, it is very necessary to understand one’s own direction, determine the meaning of one’s responsibilities, manage well one’s words and deeds, and improve one’s personal morality,” said the actor Zhang Tong, according to state media.
“It is our creators’ duty to do every work simply and unadornedly, and to pass positive energy silently to the audience,” said Zhang Yongxin, a director.
The entertainment sector is the latest to be targeted by China’s government. The tech industry, including leading business people such as Jack Ma, has faced waves of regulatory changes and investigations. Online gaming has been strictly curtailed, in the name of protecting children, and social media companies have been ordered to “rectify chaos” in celebrity fandom including banning lists that rank people or productions by popularity.
Several high-profile celebrities have been targeted in recent weeks. The actor Zheng Shuang was fined $46m for tax evasion last month, about the same time that the actor and Fendi brand ambassador Zhao Wei had her name removed from all works on major entertainment platforms. Zhang Zhehan was similarly punished and de-platformed after old photos of the actor resurfaced showing him visiting the Yasukuni war shrine in Japan, sparking online nationalist rhetoric.
Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu
Original posted at www.theguardian.com