Naughty karaoke is China's next tech crackdown target

Work drinking culture also criticised in wake of Alibaba sex assault scandal


China has announced a crackdown on naughty karaoke.

A new policy interpretation from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism points out that on-demand karaoke music services have over 100,000 tracks in their libraries, and that it is not therefore reasonable to expect that China's 50,000-plus karaoke venues ensure all are wholesome.

Karaoke music suppliers have therefore been told to conduct a self-examination of their libraries, while venues have been told to report naughty songs to local authorities and the Ministry.

The exercise in self-censorship is expected to find songs that endanger national unity or China's sovereignty, promote cults or superstitions, mention drug-taking, gambling, violence, or other criminal activities, or incite racial hatred.

China's gangsta rap scene is clearly in trouble. And so are songs that mention Taiwan, Uyghurs, or any government policy that hasn't delivered perfection.

Left unsaid is that some karaoke venues in China – so-called "KTVs" – offer private rooms in which it is entirely possible that … ahem … intimate personal services may be offered alongside food, drink, and the chance for some crooning. China is officially not very keen on that sort of thing.

The nation's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also let it be known it is firmly opposed to business cultures that all-but-compel employees to indulge in heavy drinking. In a commentary that mentions the recent horrific sexual assault incident at Alibaba, the Commission says that expectations of heavy drinking are unproductive, foster crime, and can amount to bullying.

The commentary calls for an end to unspoken codes that assume heavy after-hours drinking is part of doing business, and for China to instead promote more virtuous behaviour. ®

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