China bans ghost stories

There will be no spooky slumber-party tales for Chinese children anymore, at least if the government has its way. As China prepares for the 2008 Olympics, the government is attempting to rid the country of any evidence of vulgarity. Recently, China banned “vulgar” ads for items like brassieres and sex-enhancing drugs (even provocative sounds such as “ooh” and “ahh” were banned from airwaves). Last week, China went one step further and banned ghost stories.

That’s right. Ghost stories.

Any video or audio content containing ghosts or monsters needs to be reported to authorities in the next few weeks. Reuters quotes the administration in saying that offending content includes “wronged spirits and violent ghosts, monsters, demons, and other inhuman portrayals, strange and supernatural storytelling for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror.”

Reuters suggests that China “is keen to step up its control of the cultural arena ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August, which are widely seen as a coming-out party for the rising political and economic power.”