China Cleans Up Its Airwaves Prior To Congress

By: Guest Authors

By: Roshana Ariel

BEIJING – China said in mid-September (’07) that it has banned television and radio advertisements for push-up bras, figure-enhancing underwear and sex toys. The government calls the items “social pollution” and made its latest move to rid China’s airwaves of the stuff.

Crude and suggestive language, as well as suggestive behavior and images are already being scrutinized by regulators in the communist government. This is just a few weeks ahead of a Communist Party congress, which is held twice each decade.

Also banned are advertisements for sexual helps such as lotions or potions that claim to boost performance between the sheets.
According to a notice issued in the past week by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, “illegal ‘sexual medication’ advertisements and other harmful ads pose a grave threat to society.”

Insupportable promises about some products’ benefits or effectiveness are under scrutiny, as are lascivious imagery.

In addition to misleading consumers and corrupting society, SARFT said these images “harm the credibility of public broadcasting and affect the image of the Communist Party and the government,” the notice said.

Also off the table in China are TV talent shows of the “American Idol” ilk. In addition, SARFT took 13 radio programs off the air because they included explicit talk about sex or broadcast what the regulators called material of an “extreme pornographic nature.”

Shows about cosmetic surgery and sex changes have also been banned.

In a way, although as an American, it’s hard to imagine a country banning such things, I wouldn’t mind if our airwaves were cleaned up a bit. The trash, the crude language and suggestive television shows — I could do without them, and I don’t think it would hurt the country at all. But freedom of speech is one of those freedoms we hold dear, and we won’t be giving them up anytime soon.

Roshana Ariel is a long-time writer and editor who has traveled to China twice. She has recently created a website about China travel where she talks about her adventures in the fascinating country. Visit

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