We’ve heard about the Hallyu ban (限韩令), the historical ban (限古令) and the salary cap (限薪令) in the Chinese entertainment industry. Recently, another guideline that is being dubbed by some netizens as a restriction on citizenship (限籍令) has drawn attention.
With online variety shows becoming more mainstream, a set of criteria has reportedly been released under the guidance of the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) for the content review of online variety shows. It covers aspects like the type of program, staff selection, presentation, costume and set design, words choice, etc. People’s Daily Online calls it a move to raise the quality of shows and promote a positive culture while countering entertainment that is vulgar or crass.
However, what warranted discussion among netizens was the review on problems in the selection of cast and crew such as those who attack Chinese culture, society and ideals, those who disrupt social order, those who were in a scandal, those who committed crime or the improper selection of foreign nationals or individuals from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The last point led to concerns that celebrities who hold foreign citizenship may be affected such as Mulan star Crystal Liu Yifei who holds American citizenship and Kris Wu who is Canadian. Lists of celebrities that hold foreign citizenship went around online with famous examples like Jet Li and Gong Li who have opted to take up Singaporean citizenship.
Nonetheless, it may all be an overreaction as it was never explicitly stated that there will be a restriction on variety show appearances on that criteria alone especially with many of these stars being beloved by Chinese viewers. When it comes to online variety shows, survival shows have certainly become a popular genre. Whether we will see any changes in the future remains to be seen.