Jing Boran, star of Chinese box office hits Monster Hunt and Time Raiders, had his face digitally altered to blur out his earrings in the latest episode of popular Chinese reality TV show I, Actor.
Boran is just one victim of the censorship, according to users of Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Doctored images of male actors on a show called Sisters Flower Shop have also been posted online, according to Sixth Tone, CNN and the Guardian.
It is not immediately clear whether the doctoring has come from on high or is being carried out by TV editors and iQiyi but the move has sparked criticism from Weibo users.
Last year, China’s media regulator banned TV stations from featuring actors with tattoos and censors have been quick to shut down content on LGBT issues. Of late, masculinity has become a topic of public debate in the country. A 2018 article published by state news agency Xinhua said China’s male pop stars were creating a generation of “sissy boys.”
Earlier this month, regulators published a list of 100 types of video content that short-form platforms should get rid of, including material that promoted “non-mainstream views of love and marriage.” Foot fetishes, spoofs of the national anthem and sympathy for extra-marital affairs are also among the raft of no nos.