'No sissy men': China's latest move in 'profound transformation'

Claims of a new "cultural revolution" in China have rolled on with the banning of "sissy men" on TV as Beijing tightens its grip on the nation's youth and what it believes to be their negative influences.

President Xi Jinping has come under the spotlight in recent weeks for his concerted effort to push a new ideology centred around culture, patriotism and education.

On Monday, China announced children would be limited to just three hours of online gaming a week.

And in Beijing's latest move, effeminate men have been scrapped from TV as part of Xi's "national rejuvenation".

China's TV regulator said broadcasters must "resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal aesthetics", moving away from the fascination with celebrities, wealth and what Beijing calls "vulgar internet" personalities.

Beijing is instructing broadcasters to avoid 'sissy men' on screen. Pictured are Chinese boyband The Fighter Boys. Source: Getty
Beijing is instructing broadcasters to use more masculine men on screen. Pictured are Chinese boyband The Fighting Boys. Source: Getty

China's popular culture has been heavily influenced by Korean culture where pop stars, such as megastar G-Dragon, appear lean and feminine.

Beijing has instructed broadcasters to "vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture."

In doing so, certain talent shows have been scrapped, a political and moral standard must be met by those on air and male figures who wear makeup have been condoned.

Xi believes such influences are leading to a lack of masculine men and Beijing has for a while expressed its concern.

In January, the education ministry called on schools to ramp up masculine sports such as soccer in a notice titled the Proposal to Prevent Feminisation of Male Adolescents.

Xi Jinping has told the army to prepare for military combat amid the pandemic. Source: AFP via Getty
Xi Jinping is ramping up its control over China's youth. Source: AFP via Getty

The education sector has seen key changes with the banning of for-profit tutoring while the curriculum for children has been rejigged to promote patriotism.

Textbooks now include a raft of images of a smiling Xi Jinping, referred to as Grandpa, with motivational quotes. Such changes sees Xi's image only further resemble that of Mao Zedong, the revolutionary communist leader who brought the first cultural revolution to China.

Primary school teachers have been instructed to "plant the seeds of loving the party, the country and socialism in young hearts", the new curriculum states.

A blog post by former newspaper editor Li Guangman has been widely circulated in China, including by state media.

He states it is evident "a profound transformation is happening" and China must act now to ensure young people do not lose their "strong and masculine vibes" amid an ever-increasing tense world order where the US pose a serious threat to China.

“If this is not Cultural Revolution, what is it?" he asks.

The response to the post has been mixed, with some arguing the cultural revolution has been well underway for years in a less vocal way.

Yet Shi Shan, a political commentator, said the article could signal a curtain-raiser of a “Cultural Revolution 2.0,” which would trigger a concerted focus on statism and suppress individualism, Asia Times reported.

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