China bans rich kids from reality TV: Reports

Don’t expect a spinoff of “Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills” to hit China anytime soon.

As part of its efforts to downplay inequality, China’s media regulator has just banned the children of celebrities from appearing on reality television, according to Chinese news agencies.

People's Bank of China

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images
People’s Bank of China

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said the ban is intended to “remove minors from the limelight and let them enjoy the childhood that they are entitled to,”ShanghaiDaily.com reported.

Yet as Time.com and others report, the ban comes as the Chinese government has become increasingly concerned about wealthy children in the country showing off their spoils in public.

Last year, Wang Sicong, son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, posted photos on social media of his dog wearing two new Apple watches. He also posted comments saying that his top criteria for choosing a girlfriend was that she had to be “buxom.”

After his girlfriend post, the official Chinese news agency criticized “certain celebrities that recklessly disseminate vulgar information … from the worship of money to sex and violence.”

And last year, dozens of children of wealthy Fujian businessmen were ordered to attend special classes to promote discipline and responsibility, according to Chinese news reports.

“Rich children often have a sense of superiority, and strict punishment is to make them learn responsibility,” one of the course instructors toldBeijing Youth Daily.

The new TV ban, however, may not have much effect. As Wang Sicong has shown, rich children living in China prefer to use social media to parade their spoils, rather than heavily regulated television. So the ability to shut down their photos of private jets, Ferraris and Dom Perignon is more limited.

What’s more, many of the rich scions of Chinese billionaires and officials now live overseas, where they can more freely spend and show their wealth.

A new online TV show called “Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver”follows the shopping sprees, career aspirations and lavish meals of several heiresses in Vancouver, British Columbia. The show, filmed in Mandarin and English, “is watched avidly by Chinese people worldwide,” according to an article in The New Yorker.

As one star of the show explained to the publication, “I don’t think I’m showing off. I’m just living my life.”

The first episode of “Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver” has been viewed more than 913,000 times. So China’s new TV ban won’t stop the creation of a Chinese Paris Hilton — it just means she’ll probably rise to fame on the web.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC, also owns E! Entertainment.

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