Toe the line: China stamps out foot-fetish videos, tightening censorship
China released new guidelines on censoring short videos on Wednesday, prohibiting everything from foot fetishes to spoofing the national anthem, as Beijing continues to clamp down on "harmful" information.
The China Netcasting Services Association, one of the country's largest government-backed internet associations, published a detailed list of 100 types of content that short video platforms must scrub.
Political subjects topped the list, including Taiwan independence, criticism of Communist Party leaders, and parodying China's national anthem.
The new rules also cover a wide range of other topics, including "money worship", unhealthy views of marriage and love, and "unverified" footage of protests and gatherings.
They also apply to non-video content on the apps, including subtitles, comments and video titles.
Over the past year, Beijing has ramped up its crackdown on "illegal" online content, as the government tightens policing of China's already censored web, which blocks many foreign websites like Google and Facebook.
In 2018, Chinese authorities shuttered 26,000 "illegal" websites and deleted about six million online posts containing vulgar content, official news agency Xinhua said on Monday.
China's cyberspace authority last year also scrubbed over 9,000 accounts on Chinese social media platforms like messaging app WeChat and the Twitter-like Weibo, accusing them of spreading "politically harmful" information and rumours.
On top of releasing guidelines on barred content, the government-backed internet association, which includes state media and tech corporates like Alibaba and Tencent, also published guidelines on short video management on Wednesday.
The list encourages short video operators to introduce accounts run by the Chinese government and military to "improve the supply of positive and high quality" videos.
It also says that short video companies should assemble content auditing teams that are "very politically attuned" and that video censors should be trained by provincial and national radio and television authorities.