Chinese government censors have shut down dozens of celebrity-focused accounts which they deem “vulgar” – and a threat to socialism.
Communist officials demanded the closure of as many as 80 online outlets, mostly hosted on Chinese social media networks.
According to a report by Mashable, accounts on the sites Weibo, Baidu and Toutiao have been shuttered in recent days shuttered.
The outlets – some very high-profile – were known for posting paparazzi-style images and Page Six-esque gossip which showed the seedy side and hypocrisy of Chinese celebrity culture.
Apparently this annoyed the powers that be in China, who decided to pull the plug – in the name of socialism.
An official statement cited by Mashable said that Chinese authorities justified the takedowns by claiming that they violated new media laws, which ban anything that can “violate a party’s privacy, or damage their reputation”.
They added that scurrilous gossip is just not in keeping with good socialism/communism/whatever they’re calling it.
A statement said the crackdown was part of China’s efforts in “spreading socialist core values and providing for a good mainstream discursive environment.”
A report by the New York Times on the move said that as many as 80 accounts had been affected in total.
China has a flexible attitude towards censorship. It is quick to quash political dissent, and operates its famous Great Firewall to keep out huge swathes of the Western internet.
But authorities are happy to bend the rules when it suits them.
As Heat Street reported last month, a long-standing Chinese rule that stopped Western zombie movies going on show in the country has been relaxed – and perhaps totally dropped – when it became clear the nation’s cinema industry could grind to a halt without the cash they bring in.