The Chinese China Music and Digital Association published a speech with opinions about content in the country, taking offense at things like Boys Love, the term Waifu and the increasing influence of anime in the country.
UPDATE 30/9: It looks like the speech itself has been proven to be fake, from someone’s class assignment that wound up online without context. However many of the opinions here, as you can see, are very much in line with things the Chinese government has already said that we had previously reported on.
UPDATE 30/9, 12.30: Josh Ye from the South China Morning Press has disproven the previous claim, and verified the authenticity of our source.
The whole 12-page document says the purpose of the presentation was “to improve professional quality and business ability”, covering problems that they deem to be threatening to youth in the country.
It recommends “various new management regulations” to combat these, with the top of them being addiction to games among minors, something China is already dealing with via new laws.
Instead the real meat of this document is their views on content in entertainment like games and TV programmes. The body takes aim at anime culture in particular, trying to distance itself and control the values in these works. Do be noted that since Anime-News.net only had the excerpts in image form, a lot of these were translated via Google Translate, and clarified only where we were 100% sure we could do so without losing the spirit of the quotes.
No Wife, Only Video Game Character
It seems like a huge part of the offense taken by China seems to be that anime has taken a strong foothold in the country. It decries a “Large market share” held by Japanese products such as with Onmyoji, Naruto and One Piece, all of which are popular in China.
While not attacking it as aggressively as it does effeminate or gay men, it shows off some aggression for waifu culture, using Azur Lane as an example.
They explicitly name drop the character Kaga from Azur Lane, expressing disdain that people would call the ship-girl their “wife”. (The term waifu has no contemporaries in other languages).
It should be noted that Kaga being the mentioned character is an interesting choice, seeing as how she’s voiced by Ai Kayano, who the Chinese government has no love for following her faux pas. That being said, Kaga was removed from Azur Lane officially due to concerns about the character being too sexy.
There’s also mention of “Anti-social and anti-human” behaviors, citing games as eroding people’s compassion. Funnily enough this part about interpersonal communications was where they didn’t bring up waifu culture, instead talking about games like Plague Inc, where humans are just a numerical value you wanna kill.
However, despite their example discussing a lack of empathy in gaming, they didn’t argue for more pro-empathy games. Their second argument was for This War of Mine, which actually presents complex arguments in games and says that you shouldn’t talk about those in video games.
“Moral dilemmas are not suitable for letting players make choices through games.”, the speech reads.
Gender And Sexuality
BL (Or Boys Love, for the uninitiated) was seen to be a problem in China, known for their homophobic views. They took aim at Danmei- published works promoting the content, decrying it as a bad thing.
“Deliberate propaganda and descriptions wrongly guide male and male [couples], male and male economics (such as official website promotion, screenshots, comics, etc., males and males in mounts can ride together, and male and male kisses appear in the fifth fairy sword)”, the statement reads.
Doubling down on the “This is not our culture” narrative, they took aim at Onmyoji in particular, which they claimed pandered to Fujoshi (lit. Rotten women, women who enjoy BL).
They also reiterated a point about feminization in men- something they’d brought up before and was rumored to be the reason behind drastic new regulations involving Fate/Grand Order.
“Neutralization, beautiful men in women’s clothing, pseudo-girls Judgment criteria: subjective feelings, causing confusion about gender perception (see the introduction to find that it is male)”, the slide reads.
While having characters who identify as men but dress as women is a common trope in anime, it should be noted that China’s main example was rather hilarious, being Venti from Genshin Impact. Considering their traditionalist views the only thing “female” about Venti is his braids, with everything else more closely resembling a young boy than any kind of woman.
Tipping Your Hand (Editorial)
So first thing’s first, this is obviously a terrible take. It’s sexist, homophobic and completely unnecessary. But unfortunately what we’re seeing is the Chinese government trying to reclaim control of their image- one that doesn’t own dakimakura of anthropomorphized battleships.
There’s some genuinely good critique of anime culture in the document as well, such as how Japan uses anime as a way to rewrite history, softening their image during World War II thanks to anime fans not having the critical thinking to separate fact from sword-wielding fiction.
But its overall tone is laughably out of date, as was their tone with the minor ban and the new regulations which saw the banning of Ultraman Tiga, of all things.
This isn’t the first time members of China’s Communist Party have done this- just a few months ago they attended a gaming event decried the entire medium as “Spiritual opium”, right before launching its bombshell regulation.
Considering how many anime-style gacha games have their roots in China (Punishing Gray Raven, Genshin Impact, Azur Lane), the effects of these could be huge if followed through.
It should be noted that this was just a speech, and not the passing of any new kind of law. But considering the party’s hold on the country, don’t be surprised if more laws do come out soon to better support their opinions.
Addendum: It looks like China will be using these as guidelines for their regulatory board, as mentioned in the SCMP article posted above.