China Bans Podcasts and Music Apps as Online Crackdown Widens

China ban music apps

Audio apps are quite popular all around the world. The same is the case with China. The number of audio app users in China is growing. The overall online listeners increased by 22.1% in 2018, which increased the total amount to 400 million. According to iMedia, this number is greater than the e-reading population and mobile video users.

However, the Chinese are raising serious concerns about it. The Chinese authorities ordered the termination of 26 audio-focused apps. A notice by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), states that they investigated these apps thoroughly. They found out that these apps were promoting “pornography” and “lack of morality”.

This seems like a sudden crackdown; however, a recent event of user-generated content triggered it. Last month, Apple banned Chinese people from listening to Chinese language podcasts because their local partners didn’t host them. This crackdown started at a fast pace. Several notable Chinese shows got banned. Later, Apple confirmed this crackdown and said that they had deliberately banned these podcasts. Because of this, Chinese Apple account users couldn’t consume content without the Chinese censors knowing about it.

This isn’t the first time that the Chinese authorities have targeted a rising media field. They have targeted other media in the past. For example, last year, the government banned short video forms, like Douyin (China Tiktok), Kuaishou and others. The authorities gave the reason that these videos were breaking the law. However, they didn’t specify the exact rule that they were breaking. Similarly, many live streaming apps were in hot waters, in 2017.

Currently, CAC is targeting four popular apps in China. These services still have low users than mega apps, like WeChat or Douyin. However, the most popular one is Soul. iResearch Firm confirmed that the app has over six million users.

Many Chinese have reported on social media that the authorities have banned popular services from the Chinese Android app store. Two popular apps, Lizhi FM and its rival, Himalaya FM aren’t available on Android markets. The authorities also took down another app, operated by Xiaomi.

The authorities are also after popular music apps. A popular music app, NetEase Cloud Music, showed an alert on android apps that the service is either, unavailable or currently under maintenance. Internet titan NetEase is the operator of this app.

However, you can download Himalaya FM, Lizhi FM and NetEase Cloud Music from the Apple Chinese app store. The authorities mostly overlook the Chinese Apple store.

This isn’t the first time that the music media has been under scrutiny in China. The government occasionally censors songs and gives lame excuses for the ban. For example, the government recently banned the songs of Li Zhi, who is an outspoken musician. He usually sings about social ills. He went missing just days before the Tiananmen Square Anniversary.  Many believe that the authorities have pushed him into the dark. The government has also deleted all of Li’s music from the top music apps.

The CAC issued a statement, in which they said, “Chinese audio makers haven’t been checked in the past. They influence a whole generation and destroy their lives. Someone had to take measures against them.” CAC also blamed popular podcasts. According to them, the main agenda of these podcasts is to increase viewership at any cost. They include content like superstitions and pornography in their podcasts. They also promote two-dimensional culture. It is a term used for anime, Japanese pop culture, and comics.

China’s Communist party hates the expanding universe of the content of other countries, in China. Therefore, they are trying their best to suppress the influence of other countries. In fact, the party has also introduced its own anime about Karl Marx. The party has introduced this series to influence the younger generation.

Related: China is Working to Withstand the Effects of Trump’s Trade Wars

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