Immoral Chinese movies and shows should be condemned
Published: Mar 23, 2016 05:48 PM Updated: Mar 24, 2016 08:23 AM

Illustrations: Chen Xia/GT

China's "General Rules for Television Series Content Production" announced in early March by a subdivision of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) were updated and now include more restrictions for new small-screen and big-screen productions as well as shows produced for online viewing.

The new rules ban any subject matter that contradict socialist ideals such as shows or films which promote feudalism, colonialism, religious extremism, cults or luxurious lifestyles. SARFT also continues to uphold its standard restrictions on violence, vulgar or pornographic content, ugly behavior or anything that leads to crime or ethnic and religious conflicts.

Although nearly everything in the rules are new, Chinese netizens are saying that these rules are actually not new, just only newly announced.

As an expat in Shanghai who has a quite liberal world view and tolerance for every kind of lifestyle and custom, I don't think that being extremely restrictive against movies and television will help make China a better place. In fact, the new rules seem to me to be unnecessarily excessive.

On the other hand, I also don't really understand why some Chinese netizens are complaining about restricting scenes that promote extra-marital affairs, one-night-stands or sexual liberties such as promiscuous or homosexual behavior. Even though such behavior is now common in any modern-day society, we should at least try to make some attempt to stop normalizing such things in the media.

Of course nobody can directly change their attitudes or actions just by watching a movie or show, but with the help of the new SARFT rules, perhaps Chinese society will start to have a less favorable perception of immoral behavior. Quite similarly, the fall of the Roman Empire occurred only after pedophilia, homosexuality and other sexual vices began to be practiced openly by its emperors and elites.

It's truly unfortunate that there are so many television shows and movies made in China now that encourage casual sex and extra-marital affairs. It is understandable if a bad character does these things in order to emphasize his badness, but when a leading role resorts to cheating on his "unbearable" wife, then viewers get the wrong idea and start to believe that cheating is okay.

One such TV drama, Woju, portrays excessive sexual desires that develop into an illicit affair between a young woman and a middle-aged official. The two protagonists, Haizao - a poor lady in a cosmopolitan city - and Song - an influential government leader who is married with a daughter but cheats on his "insensitive" wife - result in Song dying in a car accident. Thus, both Song and Haizao become victims in the story, which helps them gain audiences' sympathy.

This is just one of many examples of popular Chinese TV shows encouraging extra-marital affairs and casual sex. Slowly, unconsciously, this type of broadcast will alter the opinions of impressionable Chinese audiences and will surely lead to an increase in the country's divorce rate and even abortions and sexual diseases.

Chinese people like to say how traditional they are, yet the massive popularity of risqué programs like Home Temptation, We Get Married, May-December Love, all which encourage loose morals, proves otherwise.

I know that I do not have the right to judge someone for their immoral behavior or condemn them as a member of society, but I believe that Chinese film and television production companies should stop portraying casual sex and infidelity as something normal.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.