China’s government has announced an all-out crackdown on effeminate men in the country by banning “sissy men” from TV and instructing broadcasters Thursday to promote “revolutionary culture,” a move many see as a continued attempt by the government to tighten its control over the country’s society.
The edict comes as President Xi Jinping has called for a “national rejuvenation,” with tighter Communist Party control of business, education, culture and religion, according to the Associated Press.
The Communist Party has already reduced children’s access to online games and is trying to discourage citizens from what it sees as an unhealthy fixation on celebrities. Those under the age of 18 are now limited to three hours of online gaming a week with no gaming on school days.
According to the AP, broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal esthetics,” the TV regulator said. It used the term “niang pao,” which means “girlie guns” — an offensive word used toward effeminate men.
The announcement also pushes programs to “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.”
Additionally, the rules say that broadcasters should avoid airing anything that is “overly entertaining.”
Lynette Ong, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, told the BBC the announcements were, “evidence of the Party’s ever-encroaching role into the lives of ordinary people.”
Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, suspended thousands of entertainment news and fan club accounts over the weekend amid the broader crackdown.
Over the summer, the Chinese messaging app WeChat began blocking the accounts of LGBTQ+ college groups, according to the Advocate. Shanghai University also started collecting the names of LGBTQ+ students, reported The Washington Post.
It’s unclear how the new rules will impact the LGBTQ+ community within China, or how they might affect foreign athletes when they go to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.