China to bar songs with 'illegal content' from karaoke venues

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A Chinese national flag flutters near the Friendship Bridge and Broken Bridge over the Yalu River, which separates North Korea's Sinuiju from China, in Dandong, Liaoning province, China April 21, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

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SHANGHAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - China will establish a blacklist of karaoke songs to ban those containing "illegal content" at karaoke venues across the country starting from Oct. 1, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.

Such content includes that which endangers national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, violates state religious policies by propagating cults or superstitions, or which encourages illegal activities such as gambling and drugs, the ministry said on its website on Tuesday.

Content providers to such karaoke venues will be responsible for auditing the songs, it said, adding that China has nearly 50,000 entertainment outlets with a basic music library of over 100,000 songs, making it difficult for venue operators to identify illegal tracks.

The ministry said it encouraged content providers to supply "healthy and uplifting" music to these venues.

China heavily regulates and scrubs content like violence, pornography, or politically sensitive commentary from social media and websites and has in recent months punished livestreaming to video platforms for hosting content it deems "low taste".

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Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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