China banned comics, cartoons and other TV shows primarily produced for children that contain any mention of violence, blood or vulgarity.
TV channels must “resolutely resist bad plots,” and instead only broadcast “excellent cartoons with healthy content and promote truth, goodness and beauty,” said the authority in a statement on its website.
“Children and adolescents are the main audience groups of cartoons,” the authority said, adding that broadcast organizations should set up special TV channels for children that create a good environment for “the healthy growth of young people.”
The new regulation applies to all cartoons broadcast on television as well as those streamed online and though the authority did not name any specific shows, networks wasted no time in enforcing it.
“Ultraman Tiga,” a hugely popular Japanese series about a superhero who protects Earth from monsters and aliens, was removed from online streaming platforms on Friday.
State-run Global Times suggested it could have been removed because its “violent plot” included fight scenes and explosions.
The show’s removal sparked widespread outcry. The topic trended on the heavily censored Chinese social media platform Weibo. One popular post, which broke the news on the ban, was liked more than 1 million times before being deleted. A hashtag over the show’s removal has so far been viewed more than 84 million times.
China has been signaling a crackdown on cartoons and other shows for a while.
Friday’s ban comes as Chinese authorities clamp down on various sectors of the entertainment industry, ranging from “idol” competition shows to K-pop fan clubs and “effeminate” male pop stars.
During the government’s efforts to clean up the industry, a number of “misbehaving celebrities” have been reportedly blacklisted by broadcast authorities.