US & World

China cracks down on video parodies

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Eye roll by a female journalist captured on a video circulating on WeiboImage copyright
Weibo

Image caption

This female journalist appeared to be rolling her eyes at a fellow reporter’s question

China’s media regulator has announced a crackdown on video parodies.

It says video websites are banned from featuring videos that “distort or spoof” classical literature or art, and videos that re-cut or re-voice radio, TV and online programmes.

Chinese bloggers regularly produce spoof videos, including some that mock state media and current events.

China’s internet is tightly controlled – although social media users often try to circumvent the censors.

In a new directive, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said that video platforms should not allow the dissemination of videos that “had been edited to distort the original meaning”.

“Recently some online productions have had very prominent problems and had an immensely bad impact on society,” the regulator added.

Last week, a journalist was seen on TV rolling her eyes as another reporter asked a question, which appeared to have been pre-screened, at a news conference at China’s National People’s Congress.

A video of the incident went viral, and sparked several parody videos online, before posts on social media platforms using her name started to be censored.

In 2013, state media reported that the government employed more than two million people to monitor and censor content online.

Correspondents say public discourse has been increasingly censored since President Xi Jinping came to power.

Last month, phrases such as “I don’t agree”, “constitution rules” and “Winnie the Pooh” were also censored on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, after the Communist Party proposed removing a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms.

The change has since been approved by the National People’s Congress – effectively allowing Mr Xi to remain in power for life.

Image copyright
WEIBO/AFP

Image caption

Some social media users have nicknamed Mr Xi “Winnie the Pooh”

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