China has reportedly banned hip hop from television

New government rules prevent ‘actors with tattoos’ and ‘hip hop culture’ from being shown on-screen

China has banned visible references to hip hop culture from appearing on television, according to a new report from TIME.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) have issued regulations for TV shows that explicitly ban “actors with tattoos” and the depiction of “hip hop culture” on-screen. A report from Chinese news organisation Sina quotes four rules laid out by Gao Changli, director of the administration’s publicity department:

01. Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
02. Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
03. Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
04. Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity

As we explored in a recent article, hip hop has started to blow up in China and is even beginning to make in-roads in the west. Last year, the Chinese language rap show The Rap of China proved to be hugely popular – at a cost of £23.7 million, it was the country’s most expensive competition show, but it brought in some 2.5 billion views and made stars of artists like VaVa, a runner-up on the show.

However, the show also proved controversial, with one of its winners, PG One, criticised for lyrics that were sexist and promoted drug use. The government eventually cancelled scheduled shows from the rapper, and he was subsequently dropped from high profile brand collaborations.

Since then, rapper GAI has apparently been removed from Hunan TV’s competition show Singer 2017 (clips of the rapper were pulled from the station’s YouTube channel without explanation, although he still appears in the show’s trailer), while VaVa was reportedly cut from the show Happy Camp.

TIME’s report states that the move has not been limited to television. Triple H, an underground rapper, had their music removed from streaming sites, while a contestant on Super Brian (a show that is not related to hip hop) had his neck chain blurred out.

Watch a clip from The Rap of China below, and revisit our article spotlighting the Chinese rap stars about to go global.