China’s Soccer League’s Suffering From Newly Imposed Television Tattoo Ban

Tattoos have been growing in popularity all over the world, and many employers and workplaces are beginning to allow visible tattoos. The opposite seems to have occurred in China, however, as they banned tattoos and hip-hop from television late this past January.

The top media controller of the country made an announcement that they would now “specifically [require] that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture),” according to a quote by Sina, a Chinese news outlet, published in a Time Magazine article.

The new ban on all things deemed morally questionable has received a lot of backlash from the Chinese community. Many citizens are concerned about taking a step back in cultural progression, as are the rappers and hip-hop artists who were removed from all media outlets. A well-known rapper was even forced to apologize for a song that the Chinese government considered non-adherent to their new position of moral integrity.

The ban, which included the removal of all actors displaying tattoos, has just influenced another outlet. China’s soccer program played their game against Wales last week sporting “long sleeves and skin-colored athletic tape covering their many tattoos,” according to an article published by Forbes.

Each of China’s three professional leagues were unaffected by January’s TV ban at the beginning of their season. Although, last week’s game publicly announced the leagues’ participation in the ban. Which, for many of the athletes, posed an inherently difficult problem.

Tattoos have been a large facet of society in China for centuries, and many of the players are covered with them. One player in particular, Zhang LinPeng, of whom the coach refers to as the “best player in China’s top professional league,” is covered in tattoos that “reach from his neck to the tops of his hands,” according to the article by Forbes.

Due to the league’s new regulations on visible tattoos, Zhang’s ability to play publicly for the team might be hindered.

Soccer is one of the world’s most popular sports, with followers of all ages. Around the world, there are 25 million kids who play soccer each year. Seeing how China is restricting their players’ ability to express themselves might have an impact on not only the team’s success but the sport’s popularity as well.

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