Making the rounds on Chinese social media platform Weibo is the new copy of China’s “TV Content Production Law”, a document of comprehensive Dos and Don’ts for future themes in Chinese TV shows.

Published on the 31st of December 2015, the document was designed to “direct production themes to avoid risk or benign productions”. All productions are instructed to stay away from producing any content that is banned in the legal document.

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The most controversial on the banned list is of any content showing homosexual, transsexual or S&M themes. The document even goes as far as to ban any scenes of what they call “unhealthy views of marriage”, including marital affairs, one night stands, and polygamy.

Even scenes and shots which are said to be “rather stimulating for people” are not to be shown. Basically all romance scenes out of the picture?

Of course, being the country with the highest level of censorship in the world (other than North Korea), the document is not without an entire section dedicated to protecting the image of the Chinese government. Section 4 states that in order to follow the “correct government direction”, themes such as government rebellion, leaking government secrets, or images of going against governmental policy are forbidden.

The new production law also states that themes of puppy love, smoking, and fighting between underage teenagers is banned, as it proves a bad influence on young people.


The start of the document even helpfully encourages content producers to consider creating story lines around themes such as people who set a model example for others and characters who exhibit a “Patriotic energy”. Hmm.

After reading this, I think I’ll be sticking to my Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese dramas from now on.