Chinese soldiers singing at a karaoke booth at a military barracks in Jiangsu Province.
Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
  • China is set to begin blacklisting some songs in 50,000 karaoke venues starting from October.
  • It stands to clamp down on lyrics that encourage drug use, incite ethnic harm, and violate social ethics.
  • It's up to content providers supplying the songs to report music that breaches the new restrictions.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

China is establishing a national blacklist of karaoke songs that contain "illegal content," and they're set to be banned from all singing and dancing entertainment venues starting from October 1, announced its Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

As per the new criteria, songs stand to be banned if they encourage drug use, gambling, and violence or go against cultural traditions and social ethics, according to the ministry's statement. The country is also set to blacklist songs that endanger national security or unity, incite ethnic hatred or discrimination, violate China's constitution, or promote cults or superstitions, reads the statement.

Content that is "prohibited by laws and administrative regulations" will also be banned, though the statement doesn't provide further details. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment.

There are over 50,000 karaoke spots across China, each typically using a music library of 100,000 songs, which will make it difficult for karaoke operators to enforce the new rules, a ministry spokesperson told local media outlet Xinhua News. The ban also extends to small karaoke booths, which often have space for only one or two people and are usually found in malls.

It will be up to the companies that provide the music to karaoke spots to check and report songs, said the ministry.

The ministry will ultimately decide which songs will go on the list of illegal music. It's also setting up teams to check on karaoke venues, and said perpetrators "shall be dealt with in accordance of the law."

In the meantime, the ministry encouraged music and content providers to promote "healthy and progressive" karaoke music.

The karaoke ban is the latest in China's efforts to regulate and censor media content. It actively cracks down on depictions of violence, pornography, and politically sensitive material critical of Beijing. For example, it censored social media posts earlier this year about Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao because of her negative comments about China in 2013, and blocked emojis related to the Tiananmen Square massacre.

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