China tells online quiz shows not to promote pursuit of riches, extravagance

A model looks at her mobile phone at the backstage during China Fashion Week in Beijing on Oct 26, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Online quiz shows that have surged in popularity in China must not promote extravagance or sensationalism, but should instead disseminate healthy, beneficial knowledge, the country's media and publication regulator said in a notice.

Up to six million people at a time log into the free, live games on their smartphones to answer a series of rapid-fire questions in an elimination battle, with those remaining sharing the prize money.

The trivia games have drawn some controversy, heightened by a broader crackdown on online content during the past year under President Xi Jinping, from livestreams and blogs to a campaign against internet addiction.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a notice released late on Wednesday (Feb 14) that the content of some of the quizzes were little more than click-bait, with "vulgar and tawdry" content.

These platforms should not promote "mammonism, extravagance, or sensationalism", nor should they feature excessive marketing during shows, the regulator said.

Instead, they needed to encourage healthy, beneficial knowledge that promoted core socialist values, it said.

Both the platform and its anchors must have proper qualifications and be morally upstanding, the notice said.

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