China reportedly considering ban for any actor who's ever used drugs, even the cool ones

William Hughes
·2 min read

Variety reports tonight on a legal proposal that recently caused a furor on Chinese social media, as the country’s annual meeting of the National People’s Congress will soon be presented with (or, at least, be given the option be presented with) a proposal to ban any actor from the company’s film-making apparatus if they’re ever found to have used drugs—even the cool ones. Proposed by lawyer Zhu Lieyu—who’s been a member of the legislature (which exists primarily to rubber-stamp legislature vetted by other Chinese government bodies) since 2013, and whose past proposals have included far more chill resolutions, like a call for the relaxation of the country’s single-child policy—the proposal would target the “chaos of drug-related behavior among celebrities,” and “purify” the entertainment industry, per Variety’s reporting.

And while a) we are not Chinese constitutional scholars, and b) it sounds like the annual NPC meeting processes a lot of these kinds of proposals without them even getting close to actual consideration for real legislature or law (again, the whole event has been described as a combination of party press conference and legal pageant), the “Not even pot? Really? You know pot’s cool, right?” proposal has apparently gained an enormous amount of traction on Chinese social media. Most notably Weibo, where it’s apparently drawn millions of views and—shock of shocks—more than 50,000 positive comments. On the internet.

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In his proposal, Zhu reportedly defended his idea from complaints, noting that, “Actors inherently have a higher level of education, and they are idolized by young people. The bad impact of them using drugs is more severe, so the punishment for them using drugs should be harsher.” He also noted that “every industry should have its restrictions,” equating actors doing drugs—even cool ones—with someone with an infectious disease working in a restaurant.

As Variety notes, the proposal—and the public’s apparent ready support for it—comes just a few weeks after the China Association Of Performing Arts issued new “celebrity morality guidelines” that ranged from requiring performers to profess love for the country’s Communist Party, to banning the use of lip-syncing in commercial performances, all on pain of being kicked out of the industry permanently. (Although the CAPA has no actual enforcement powers, it’s worth noting that once-beloved actress Fan Bingbing has been essentially iced out of the country’s entertainment industry for going on 3 years now, after being fined/shamed for tax evasion by Chinese authorities back in 2018.)

The NPC meets (mostly virtually) for its annual two-week session starting tomorrow. We’re going to assume no one will be holding—even the cool ones.