China to Ban Karaoke Songs With 'Illegal Content' as it Tightens Noose on Its Music Industry

China will now be blocking karaoke songs loaded with 'illegal content'. China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has decided crack down on its music industry and the new rules will come into effect on October 1.

The ban will extend to content that endangers national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, violates state religious policies by propagating cults or superstitions, or which encourages illegal activities such as gambling and drugs, the ministry said on its website on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Content providers to such karaoke venues will be responsible for auditing the songs, it said, adding that China has nearly 50,000 entertainment outlets with a basic music library of over 100,000 songs, making it difficult for venue operators to identify illegal tracks.

The ministry said it encouraged content providers to supply "healthy and uplifting" music to these venues, according to Reuters.

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Nothing New for China

During the rule of Mao Zedong, "Yellow Music" drew criticism and was censored as the CCP saw Shanghai 'shidaiqu' pop music to be indecent. Various political reasons are also there for this censorship. Beijing is against any musician who publicly supports Tibetan independence or otherwise interacts with the Dalai Lama.

In July 2016, South Korean music and entertainment was voluntarily boycott in China, in retaliation to its stationing of a THAAD missile defense system to protect against attacks by North Korea.

K-Pop was banned for 18 months in China but the restrictions were lifted in November 2017. Beijing TV authorities are of the opinion that online entertainment shows should promote socialism instead of "irrational" star-chasing.

China heavily censor any criticism against the government and CCP Flickr

What About Banning Songs from Karaoke Venues?

In 2015, the ministry blacklisted around 120 songs that "trumpeted obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality", reported BBC.

Songs like Beijing Hooligans, Suicide Diary and Don't want to go to school were among those described as having "severely problematic content", according to a report by state media outlet Global Times.

According to a CNN report, a song titled Fart was also blacklisted. The lyrics of the song read: "There are some people in the world who like farting while doing nothing."

Social Media Divided

Some social media users have criticized the recent ban calling the Chinese state 'totalitarian', while many are calling it a dictatorial police state with no freedom of thought, expression or association. One Twitter user wrote, "There is absolutely no illegal content in music. The Chinese government is made up of stupid Communists who do not understand music art." Another wrote, "Man, the Chinese government is afraid of everything."

On the other hand, some netizens were in favor of the ban. One user said, "Most of songs in list contain unacceptable sexual descriptions. I am glad they are removed from the karaoke room!" Another person wrote, "China is doing great thing to not let their next generation end up like those in the west."