China bans hip-hop culture and tattoos from TV

People have already started to complain about the crackdown.

young thug
Rappers like Young Thug wouldn’t be allowed on Chinese TV (Photo by Prince Williams/Getty Images for PUMA)

China has banned hip-hop culture and people with tattoos from appearing on television.

Sina, a Chinese news outlet, reported that the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture).”

On Friday, the director of the administration’s publicity department, Gao Changli, outlined the rules:

  • “Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble.”
  • “Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene.”
  • “Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class.”
  • “Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.”

Apparently, those rules extend to hip-hop, which the administration seems to think is “vulgar and obscene.”

Okay then.

Removing rappers

The official guidelines come after Hunan TV’s Singer, a competition show, booted rapper GAI from the show as well as from Hunan TV’s YouTube channel. He did, however, remain in clips in the trailer.

No explanation was given for GAI’s removal at the time.


Time noted that this isn’t new for China, either. The country has been slowly removing hip-hop from its television programs for a while now.

Another rapper, Wang Hao, aka PG One, was forced to apologize because people accused him of denigrating women and promoting drug culture in his song “Christmas Eve.” Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was booted from Happy Camp, a variety show, according to Tecent NewsTriple H has been removed from music streaming sites.


Across the country, rappers are being kicked out of the music scene, and even hip-hop culture is being removed. A show called Super Brian even went so far as to blur out the image of a hip-hop necklace.

Of course, these moves haven’t gone unnoticed, and people on Chinese social media have already started to complain about the crackdown.

Still, despite the complaints, it seems these rules are here to stay for now.