Homosexuality and other ‘abnormal sexual relationships and sexual behavior’ such as incest and sexual assault have been banned in Chinese TV dramas.
The China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television recently issued new ‘TV content production guidelines’ after a gay high school drama was removed from streaming sites.
The document, dated 31 December 2015, also prohibits TV dramas from ‘showing or promoting an unhealthy concept of marriage,’ such as extramarital affairs or one-night stands.
The regulations also mentioned the supernatural – ‘possession, reincarnation, witchcraft practices and feudal superstition’ – ‘bizarre, grotesque criminal cases’ and content that has ‘adverse effects on minors,’ such as ‘love between minors,’ smoking, drinking and fighting.
Addicted – a 15-episode series about a gay high school couple – disappeared from the internet without warning last week, leaving angry fans unable to watch the last three episodes.
Homosexuality was removed from China’s official list of mental disorders in 2001 but remains a taboo subject.
Addicted became massively popular over the Chinese New Year holiday, especially among younger female fans.
The first episode broke records when it was released on 29 January, racking up 10 million hits in 24 hours.
In an online poll by the Chengdu Committee for the Well-being of Youth and Teenagers, more than 93% of the 20,000 respondents disapproved of the removal.
‘The SAPPRFT (decision) is too much. Is it necessary? It’s so unpopular,’ said a user on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
Addiction’s writer and producer, who uses the pen name Chaijidan, said shooting for the second season would ‘not be impacted’ by the ban and would likely start in May.
The show’s Weibo account said the final three episodes would be available on YouTube – a site that is also blocked in China.