After a string of high-profile incidents of prostitution and drug use in China’s showbiz world, the government wants to legislate against bad behaviour by celebrities.
A new draft law, announced Aug. 30 during a meeting of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee—the country’s top law-making body—requires that actors, directors and film industry workers “obey laws and regulations, respect social and public integrity, abide by professional morals, reinforce self-discipline and establish a good public image.”
The proposed legislation is a result of “high-profile arrests of film celebrities involved in drug abuse and prostitution” in the past few years, the body said.
China has made examples of badly behaved celebs in the past. Kung fu star Jackie Chan’s 32-year-old son Jaycee Chan was arrested for drug use in Beijing along with another Taiwanese actor Ke Zhendong, also known as Kai Ko, in 2014. Ke made a confession on state broadcaster CCTV where he admitted that he was “sorry for setting the worst example…to young people in society.” Ke took part in an anti-drug campaign in 2012. Jaycee Chan served six months in jail in China and was fined 2000 yuan ($300).
Actor Wang Xuebing, a former anti-drug ambassador, was arrested in March 2015 after acknowledging he had a history of drug use. Golden Bear award winner Wang Quanan was arrested for prostitution in Sep. 2014. That month, China’s censorship watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), ordered a ban on screenings involving anybody who had engaged in criminal activity.
On the same day that the latest draft legislation was announced, SAPPRFT also said that all social and entertainment news should promote “positive energy”—a favorite buzzphrase in China’s government propaganda—and avoid putting “stars, billionaires or Internet celebrities on pedestals,” the People’s Daily said. Shows promoting “Western lifestyles” also face being censored.
Last year, SAPPRFT asked all reality TV show programs to promote socialist values and reduce reliance on foreign shows.