Witchcraft, Blood, Porn, And Tibetan Independence Banned On Short-Video Apps In China

And art wall at the TikTok US launch party (Photo: Joe Scarnici, Getty)

In the latest extension of the Great Firewall of China, the nation is pushing a set of guidelines on Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok run by the same parent company — as well as other short-form video apps. These new rules press the social media companies to monitor for 100 types of illicit content.

That’s a lot of video — according to the Financial Times, which originally reported the story in the U.S., approximately 600 million people in China post or watch short videos through various apps.

The new rules come from industry organisation China Netcasting Services Association, reportedly under the government’s guidance. Last week, the group released a list of 100 guidelines on the kind of content that won’t be permitted.

The list includes a ban on content that promotes “feudal superstitions” and violates “the scientific spirit,” by showing “witchcraft practices”

The new rules ban content that shows bloody scenes and horror scenarios, porn, slander, and socially immoral activities. Videos that promote “funeral culture” and “suicide games” are also banned.

The guidelines don’t allow material that criticises the nation’s policies, symbols, or political beliefs. Nor do they allow content that shows views, icons, or activities relating to the independence of Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The rules also ban offensive or satirical presentations of political leaders and “heroic martyrs.”

TikTok and Douyin parent company ByteDance would not comment on the new guidelines. Since Douyin is a version of TikTok that is only used in China, the new rules would probably only affect Douyin. So TikTok users across the world can presumably continue to post political memes and witchcraft rituals to their heart’s content.

[Endgadget, Financial Times]

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