While Twitch has faced criticism recently for its stance against hot tub streamers, Chinese messaging/social media/payments platform WeChat is even more conservative when it comes to censoring content. The extensive list of activities it doesn’t allow includes nose picking, hip shaking, and wearing underwear on your head.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, WeChat owner Tencent Holdings released guidelines for performers on WeChat Channels, its new video section designed to take on short-form-content rivals such as TikTok (known in China as Douyin).
China’s government, of course, comes down hard on anyone who broadcasts anything it finds objectionable, including leaking state secrets, insulting official heroes and martyrs, promoting what it defines as terrorism, and broadcasting news without authorization. This extends to WeChat Channels, along with “predicting a nation’s fate and government policy trends” and anything that goes against “positive social values.”
Some of the more unusual bans are fortune-telling, shots inside nightclubs and foot massage lounges, guessing a baby’s pre-birth gender, coffins, tombstones, and wearing government and police uniforms, including those from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
“I predict a WeChat ban is in your future”
Eating non-food items is also prohibited, so, as per the examples, no consuming socks or instant noodles made with water left over from washing feet. Smoking, drinking, swearing, and showing tattoos, are also banned, as is broadcasting from a bed or engaging in dangerous activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, free climbing, paragliding, parachuting, or high-rise parkour. Falling under the same category is smashing cactuses with bare hands and making popcorn in an aluminum can, which we can all agree aren’t safe.
WeChat is certainly stricter than Twitch when it comes to clothing: “Female pants or skirts [should not] be more than 2cm below the belly button” and “the hem of female pants and skirts [should not be] higher than the hip line.” It’s a lot easier for men, whose two rules in this area are no going topless and no appearing only in underwear.
“See-through clothes, flesh-coloured tights, fishnet stockings, suspenders, triangle shorts and low-rise shorts,” are also too risqué, as is repeatedly bending over to reveal cleavage or lifting skirts, simulated sex acts, repeated squatting, seductive lip licking, chest rubbing and hip-shaking. Whether fitness enthusiasts and Elvis impersonators will be penalized is unclear.
Technically not allowed on WeChat Channels
“Vulgar pornographic games,” spanking, zooming in on certain body parts, and anything that can “cause discomfort” is not allowed, either. Wearing underpants on one’s head is given as an example of the latter, which is remarkably specific for such a broad description.
Anyone violating one of this laundry list of rules will have their account suspended or receive other punishments, which in the case of political infractions, could be a lot worse than a ban.