This past week, China took another step towards censoring their large online community by reportedly banning the “erotic” online consumption of bananas, after president Xi Jinping called for steps to “rehabilitate” his country’s “cyber-ecology.”
Last year, at a Communist party summit, Xi Jinping claimed that the country needed to start “promoting civilized behavior” on China’s internet. Although several bans have already been passed to control violent and pornographic content on Chinese platforms, this new banana ban may take the cake.
According to CCTV, the ban is aimed at livestream entertainment shows, which are becoming wildly popular in China. All of the major streaming platforms — Douyu, Panda.tv, YY, Zhanqi TV, and Huya — are all under investigation by the Chinese government. The alleged charges against them involve violent and pornographic content streaming that hosts may have broadcast to live viewers.
With this new ban in place, all platforms will now have to monitor for illegal fruit consumption, on top of the already intense restrictions given to them by the government. Female presenters are now no longer able to wear revealing tops, short skirts, or stockings as well.
The crackdown on internet morals is thought to have stemmed from the boom in popularity of China's live-stream community. The state-run China Daily Newspaper claimed that there were well over 100 live-streaming platforms in China, broadcasting everything from artwork, skincare routines, dancing, singing, cooking, and playing instruments.
And eating bananas, apparently.
A leader in the live-stream industry, YY, boasts over 120 million live viewers. The viewers are nearly all students and 77 percent of viewers are male.
On Monday, after news of the banana ban came out, China Daily Newspaper warned that these streaming platforms should be prepared for even harsher restrictions to come. Platforms using live-streaming sites to promote “obnoxious shows of violent, sexual or criminal nature” would be targeted, it said.
But the internet has also been having a good, angry laugh at the Chinese government and their potassium-centric ban. Travel writer Philip Watson staged one particularly hilarious protest which involved a banana, chocolate sauce, and the Chinese embassy in London.