China Cracks Down On 'Spoof' Videos Insulting Its President
Ordering censorship of film, news, and publishing by government
China's media regulator is now cracking down on "spoof" videos that are deemed to insult President Xi Jinping according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The decision comes after Xi cemented his power following a recent meeting of parliament by having presidential term limits scrapped, giving the ruling Communist Party a firm grip on the media by ordering censorship of film, news, and publishing.
The Express reports: Xinhua said video sites must ban videos that "distort, mock or defame classical literary and artworks", citing a directive from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on Thursday.
Reuters separately reviewed a copy of the directive, which was unusually labelled "extra urgent".
Industry insiders say the sweeping crackdown on media content, which has been gaining force since last year, is having a chilling effect on content makers and distributors.
"It means a lot of content makers will have to transition and make their content more serious. For 'extra urgent' notice like this, you have to act immediately," said Wu Jian, a Beijing-based analyst.
"Those who don't comply in time will immediately be closed down," Wu said.
A TV reporter's theatrical eye roll during a long-winded question at a Beijing news conference stole the show during China's annual parliament session last week, exploding on Chinese social media before censors intervened.
Despite strict censorship, China has a fairly lively online community of bloggers, who frequently respond to breaking events with humorous - and sometimes risqué - sketches and short videos, although they often face their posts being taken down.
JustXiait, a team of Chinese parody bloggers famous for satirical dubbed-over videos from movies, said in an official microblog post that the group would voluntarily delete all videos "to conduct self-inspection, cleanup and improvement".
The decision is "to make the program more in line with relevant laws and regulations, and to provide audience more interesting and wholesome programs", it said.