TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A recent announcement from China’s National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications declares that Beijing is ready to pay top dollar for citizens to scour society and the intranet for pornographic materials in an effort to excise “harmful” content.
The communist government has doubled the reward money it is prepared to offer citizens that report illegal publishing operations to the state authorities. Depending on the scale of the illegal activity reported, people can now earn up to US$86,500 for reporting pornographic and illegal material to the state.
Since Xi Jinping’s rise to power, Beijing has been introducing increasingly draconian measures to monitor and control its populace.
Now after banning hip-hop and other unacceptable fashions, as well as ASMR videos deemed pornographic from the Chinese intranet, media censors are ramping up their ideological crusade against any media that “endangers ideological security, cultural security, physical and mental health of minors.”
As with most of Beijing’s social monitoring initiatives, there is every likelihood that the policy will be used to intrude ever farther into people’s private lives, while cultivating a culture of suspicion and community surveillance characteristic of late-stage communist societies.
Stiffer fines have also been introduced, with those who possess or traffic in pornographic materials possibly facing fines of up to US$7,200.
The “New Measures for Rewarding Reporting on Eradicating Pornography and Illegal Content” are set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2018.
The announcement says that there are now 16 varieties of "pornographic content" set to be targeted by the government once the new measures take effect. However, the announcement does not list the 16 varieties, which will presumably be explained to the public in December.
In light of the constantly expanding censorship apparatus, many artists, content creators, and managers of physical stores, as well as online platforms are becoming increasingly concerned, and unsure, about what content might land them with a fine, or in prison.
In a community effort to protect authors, artists, or other content creators that are likely to be at risk with the new measures coming into effect, there are already calls for fans of artists to begin deleting any work they have saved or shared online ahead of the new measures.
The new policy measures were announced on Nov. 16, last week, just two days before an author of erotic literature called Tianyi was sentenced to jail for ten and a half years for describing gay sex scenes in her novels, reports Abacus News.
Tinayi wrote a novel in 2017 called “Occupy,” which was published online, and sold over 7,000 copies. She was sentenced to prison for “producing and selling pornographic materials” that included “graphic depictions of male homosexual sex scenes,” reports SCMP.
Earlier in August, the founder of a video app called “Hot TV” was given a seven year prison sentence for allowing material deemed to be pornographic on the app, reports Abacus News.
Once the new measures go into effect, young netizens who are online looking for easy income are likely to spend time scouring the web looking for materials that might be considered “harmful” or which “endanger ideological security” of the Chinese Communist Party.
Meanwhile offline, groups like the Chaoyang Masses, which are spy clubs and community watch organizations comprised mostly of retirees, are also likely to expand their snooping operations into local businesses, and potentially family members’ closets for a chance to hit pay-dirt, once the new reward system is introduced.
It is clear that as the Chinese government's censorship apparatus continues to inflate, people’s ability to speak freely, openly express themselves, or enjoy any manner of personal privacy will continue to diminish in step.
As one YouTuber recently declared, "China's Golden Age is over."