The Chinese government have outright banned the practice known as ASMR, a kind of relaxation technique based on certain noises or whispers. The terms “vulgar” and “pornographic” have been used to justify the ban.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): love it or hate it. For several years now, these sensorial videos, intended to relax people (and particularly to induce sleep) have been doing the rounds of the web. The Chinese government clearly are not fans, and have even decided to take measures aiming to completely ban the practice.
On the 8th June 2018, the Chinese office for fighting pornography took on the job, and decreed that ASMR came under the category of contents linked to vulgarity and pornography, as indicated in an official statement. As a result, streaming platforms in China were required to trace and delete these kinds of videos. Officials believe that they need to “protect minors from this harmful content”.
With the country’s largest platforms such as Douyu, Youku and Bilibili already complying, the Chinese government have yet again demonstrated their capacity to make unfounded judgements and decisions. It’s true that some of these videos could seem a little obsessive, but everyone should be free to listen to whatever sounds or whispers they like, especially if it relaxes them and helps them to sleep.
Elsewhere, Swansea University (UK) published a study in 2015, showing that ASMR was mainly used to help with falling asleep (86%), which proves that the majority of interest in such videos relates to personal well-being. The Chinese’s government’s decision angered many people on web forum Weibo, who are now wondering how they are going to manage to fall asleep.
However, in China, some of the videos feature pretty young girls as can be seen below, literally licking their microphones. It is therefore a little more easily understandable that politicians with a conservative bint are offended!