China Censors Any Audio Deemed ‘Erotic’ – ASMR Included


China is convinced that censoring things is the perfect way to keep its citizens safe and healthy in mind and spirit. After taking down from the approval list games that feature gambling and historically-inspired plots, it has now set its sights on ASMR and audio apps. 

The Chinese government had already announced, via its anti-pornography office back in 2018, that video streaming services have to “thoroughly clean up vulgar and pornographic ASMR content.”

ASMR videos, in case you’re not familiar with them, usually feature soft sounds that users usually listen to in order to relax and de-stress – while some ASMR videos do feature erotic content, most of them don’t. Besides, a research paper that was published back in 2015 said that 80% of the users use ASMR videos to help them go to sleep, 70% to diminish stress and only 5% for sexual stimulation. 

ASMR can hardly be considered an enemy of the state. 

However, China’s anti-porn taskforce called for all the video services featuring ASMR clips to get rid of them. Now, if you try to search for any ASMR videos at all on the Chinese websites such as MissEvan, Youku and Douyu, you will usually be greeted with a message that says these sort of videos cannot be shown because they “may involve content that violates relevant laws, regulations and policies.”

China’s New Gaming Guidelines Take Poker and Historical Titles Off The List

More recently, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s top internet regulator, released a notice last week that announced 26 apps have already been terminated or suspended after an investigation found them to contain “obscene pornography” as well as “historical nihilism”, in addition to swearing. 

The CAC mentioned all the ways in which the audio platforms violated their rules and regulations by featuring content regarding illegal transactions, pornography, zombies, horror, “subculture”, “color gods” and something called “fairy ghosts”. According to the CAC, this sort of “illegal activities of the audio platform can seriously damage the network ecology and have a bad influence on the healthy growth of young people, and must be resolutely managed.”

Following the investigation the National Network Information Office will “carry out centralized rectification for illegal and illegal audio platforms, curb industry chaos, and urge enterprises to implement the main responsibility. The ultimate goal is to promote the healthy and orderly development of the industry.”

Of course, as is the case with any society who does not have access to its preferred vices freely, a number of people are still taking the risk to maintain pornography alive. 

Back in April, a man and a woman were arrested for running a platform that live-streamed erotic content and took requests in exchange for money. The platform had over 900,000 users at the time it was shut down and reportedly made around $2.3 million in only five months. 

It has also been reported that, if you add a space between ASM and R in the Chinese search engines, you’ll find the videos you need so it should be expected that, in the face of such an oppressive type of censorship, people will try and find workarounds to get the content they need – be it pornography, games or ASMR.

However, it has been shown that the Chinese authorities don’t plan to be lenient to anyone who breaks the rules. 

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