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The Censorship of Tattoos




Tattoos have joined the likes of Google, Whatsapp, Twitter, and Youtube on the ever-expanding list of things that are now censored in China.

Back in January, Time reported that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China prohibited celebrities with tattoos from television broadcasts, stating that the government “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture),” following the removal of prominent rapper GAI from the competition show Singer, and rapper VaVa from the variety show Happy Camp.

Director of the State Administrations Publicity Department Gao Changli went on to issue the following rules to broadcasters:

“Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble

Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene

Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class

Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity”

More recently, the Chinese government appears to have expanded the censorship of tattoos to the soccer field. Chinese Digital Media Outlet Sina has reported that the country’s national soccer players may have been forced to conceal their tattoos in televised matches, with players reportedly covering their tattoos with tape in their games against Syria and Wales.

With these sweeping broadcast regulations related to tattoos seemingly spreading to all forms of media, the Chinese government has attempted to strike a blow at tattooing through the collector rather than the artist. In fact, tattoo shops have thrived in Shanghai, the city that the state media has referred to as “China’s tattoo mecca”, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

Still, with tattoos being added to the censorship list, China has proven that Japan isn’t the only country that has a problem with tattoos.

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