China Bans Karaoke Songs That ‘Endanger National Unity’

(Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

John Rigolizzo Contributor
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The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced Wednesday that it will place a ban on karaoke songs with content they believe “endanger[s] national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity.”

The ban will also include music that incite ethnic hatred or discrimination, violates state religious policies by, or encourages illegal activities such as drugs, gambling, and obscenity. The ministry “encouraged” music providers to replace the blacklisted songs in karaoke venues with “healthy and uplifting” music.

The Ministry acknowledged the difficulty of forcing karaoke venues to identify illegal songs, noting that the country has some 50,000 venues with a basic library of more than 100,000 songs. Instead, the Ministry noted that content providers themselves would be responsible to audit their libraries for illegal tracks and flag offending songs.

The ban will go into effect Oct.1.

China has a reputation for heavily censoring pop culture and media. The country routinely scrubs content from social media and web pages that contains pornography, violence, or sensitive political topics. China recently cracked down on live streaming platforms for hosting “low taste” material.

Chinese television networks blurred the images of Western brands from their television programs in April in response to backlash over the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Province.

The Chinese government also banned some 6600 songs in 2018, mostly 1990s and 2000s pop songs from Hong Kong and Taiwanese artists.