Footage with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the South Korean group BTS was cut
Chinese fans of the series “Friends” have expressed dissatisfaction with the censorship of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the South Korean group BTS from the special new episode of the series, AFP reported.
The long-awaited new episode of the cult series was broadcast on three Chinese streaming platforms, but footage featuring some of the guest stars and references to the LGBT community was cut by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
American singer Lady Gaga had to cancel her tour in China in 2016 because of her meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
Canadian singer Justin Bieber has been blocked from Beijing since 2014 after posting a photo of himself in Tokyo’s Yakusuni Shrine, which commemorates those killed in the Japanese wars.
KTS pop stars sparked Chinese Communist Party discontent last year when they did not mention the Chinese who died in the Korean War in a statement about the region’s “painful history.”
From the Chinese streaming platforms iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video did not answer AFP’s questions about the reasons for the censorship of the footage from the episode. /
The issue of China Media Bulletin 151 – February 2021 reports on: How the Clubhouse app’s crack in the Great Firewall highlighted Chinese netizen’s isolation from global users; new restrictive rules for journalists, celebrities, and social media users; more mainland information control tactics appear in Hong Kong; and how Beijing’s media influence and repressive reach in Europe, Africa, Asia, and beyond are evolving.
Censorship updates: New rules for journalists, “self-media,” entertainment industry, and internet services
Over the past two months, various government and quasigovernment bodies have issued new rules or draft regulations governing free expression.
Chinese journalists’ social media accounts scrutinized: New rules issued by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) on January 12 require Chinese journalists to have their social media posts reviewed as a part of the annual verification process for renewal or issuing of press cards. The rules, which were immediately implemented for the review period ending in mid-March, cover material dating back to December 2019. Journalists who opened social media accounts without authorization or posted content deemed objectionable may be denied a press card.
Further crackdown on “self-media”: On January 22, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released new provisions targeting “self-media” accounts. Such independently operated accounts, which publish or comment on news and current affairs, will be required to obtain a “Internet News Information Service Permit” and are prohibited from commenting on a list of restricted topics after the provisions go into effect on February 22. Those who violate the provisions can face a temporary or permanent ban from social media sites. Social media platforms will manage the accreditation process and are required to establish credit-rating systems for content producers. Companies like WeChat, Baidu, and Sohu have messaged their users and cautioned them not to comment on news unless they receive accreditation. This is the first time the provisions have been updated since 2017, with CAC citing a need to further combat “false information” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrity behavior rules formalized: The China Association of Performing Arts, an entertainment industry association under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, released new guidelines on February 5 outlining circumstances under which celebrities may be sanctioned for their speech or behavior. China’s public entertainment figures will be required to promote “the party’s line” while not “undermining national unity” or “endangering national security.” The 15 rules, which go into effect on March 1, are intended to formalize unwritten but longstanding standards of behavior; performers who violate the order face suspensions and even a permanent industry ban.
Draft update of key internet service regulation: CAC released on January 8 a draft update of the Regulations on Internet Information Service for public comment. The original regulations date back to 2000, and the updated draft adds several provisions on modern online issues like e-commerce and online fraud; new rules would also expand the list of prohibited online content to cover “false information,” information that “incites illegal assemblies,” or which “endangers the physical and mental health of minors.” The draft enshrines the CCP’s support for “cyber sovereignty,” calling for the state to take measures to “monitor, prevent, and address illegal and criminal activities using domestic or foreign internet resources to harm the security or order of the nation’s cyberspace.” It further codifies the Great Firewall, which blocks user access to banned websites. The period for public comment closed on February 7. While the regulations have not yet been enacted, in effect they codify into law much of what is already in practice.
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