China's Latest Censorship Crackdown Target: Videos Of Women Rubbing, Kissing And Licking Binaural Microphones

from the whisper-sweet-nothings-in-my-ear dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about some unpublished censorship guidelines that provided insights into what the Chinese government is trying to stamp out online. However, one of the more curious activities whose depiction was forbidden was "vulgar use of a microphone controller". That seemed both surprisingly specific, and yet tantalizingly vague. A new post on Abacus News may explain what was meant by that phrase. It reports on yet another censorship move by the Chinese authorities:

the country's anti-pornography office ordered a number of platforms to remove a lot of ASMR content -- because they say some are akin to softcore porn.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is defined by Wikipedia as follows:

a term used for an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. ASMR signifies the subjective experience of "low-grade euphoria" characterized by "a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin". It is most commonly triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.

The banned videos in China typically show people -- well, nearly always young women -- whispering into special high-quality binaural microphones that aim to capture audio the same way our ears hear sounds. As well as producing extremely realistic results, the microphones also allow sounds to move from one ear to the other -- best experienced with headphones to enhance this effect -- as if the person speaking is right next to you, and moving around very close to you.

The women in the videos whisper, rather than speak, because it has been found to be the most effective way to produce ASMR's characteristic "tingling" sensation. But ASMR videos also include the sounds of people licking, kissing, and rubbing the microphones in various ways -- which may explain that "vulgar use of a microphone controller" the Chinese authorities want to censor. As a representative example, the Abacus News points to a two-hour long YouTube video of one of the ASMR stars in China, Xuanzi Giant 2 Rabbit:

In the video, she speaks softly into an ear-shaped microphone, taps it, covers it in plastic, even rubs a Q-tip inside it, creating a variety of sounds to trigger ASMR.

But she does it while dressed in the revealing outfit of Mai Shiranui from The King of Fighters, and whispers things like "Husband, your highness, do you have any instructions?" In another clip, wearing the same outfit, she strikes a provocative pose on the bed.

ASMR is even referred to as "in-skull orgasm" by many Chinese internet users, highlighting the sexual image of some videos.

It's not hard to see why China's anti-pornography department might want to block this kind of thing. However, as a short video by The New York Times exploring the phenomenon makes clear, mainstream ADMR is rather different from these Chinese variants. The aim is to relax rather than excite, and to tap into what may be a calming physiological response similar to that produced when animals groom each other. In any case, the Chinese attempt to censor ASMR videos seems pretty hopeless:

After hearing about this crackdown, we tried to search by the keyword "ASMR" on some of China's biggest streaming platforms, like Bilibili and Douyu. The searches yielded no results. But the videos still appear if you go directly to the playlists of many ASMR hosts. And since they're not banned in the West, many are available on YouTube.

This probably means we can expect yet another Chinese crackdown on ASMR videos at some point in the future, and yet another failure to eradicate that "vulgar use of a microphone controller".

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


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  • identicon
    Daydream, 20 Jun 2018 @ 8:22pm

    Licking, kissing, and rubbing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rog S. Elliott, 20 Jun 2018 @ 8:39pm

    kTV culture

    This might just be one of the best viral advertisements ever.

    In a side note, Chinas thriving KTV kroake culture, women advertise their availability using microphones as well.

    And, unlike the US, prostitutes are able to ply their trade with comparative ease using social media in creative ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 12:28am

    Is the popularity of this driven by the results of one child policies in China, which is an extreme imbalance in the sexes. This may be the only way some men can have a women whisper sweet nothing into their ears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    R_ogs, 21 Jun 2018 @ 12:51am

    factually incorrect~thats a lie

    China has a two child policy now, and the minzu, aka minorities, and , farmers, have always been able to have many kids. In fact, there is a baby boom going on right now.

    Unlike societies like the USA that are based in slavery, and then a Welfare~peonage State that has morphed into a police state, Chinas child policies are based in what people can afford.

    So, Americas Prison peonage and child support debt bondage systems, most of which are church and religion based policies, give you the false illusion that China limits people.

    And~ people who want an extra kid simply pay a "fine"~ aka a child tax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 5:25am

      Re: factually incorrect~thats a lie

      your title seems more like foreshadowing in my opinion...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 21 Jun 2018 @ 6:46am

      Re: factually incorrect~thats a lie

      "China's child policies are based in what people can afford."
      The one child was enacted in 1980 to curb population growth.

      The two child policy is to help with the countries aging issue.

      "Simply" pay a fine is a gross understatement. It's hefty. Plus the added benefit of harassment from local authorities.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tater, 21 Jun 2018 @ 5:04am

    Gameshow

    Contestant: I'll take "Phrases that nobody would EVER expect to see in news headlines" for $1000, Alex.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 21 Jun 2018 @ 6:48am

    People actually get off on these videos? They always just seemed dumb to me. Girls whispering inane stuff into a microphone and then rubbing things like hairbrushes while looking like they think they're doing something Earth-shattering.

    In fact, when I see "ASMR", I think of this;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycgSzc4Grdo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      I've learned not to question taste. There's this popular wisdom here:

      "Taste is like the asshole. Everybody has their own."

      So I may not understand it (as I don't in this case) but if it makes some people feel good and doesn't harm anybody else then let them be happy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 7:17am

    Well, I just learned something disturbing. And it's not the fact that people like seeing girls licking microphones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rog S., 21 Jun 2018 @ 8:01am

    China two child policy

    Well, for the sake of argument: yes, you are correct~ the new children are to assist the aging situation via revenue generation.

    And, for many, the baby fine was hefty, but easily doable for those so motivated.

    As for harassmement, I have not heard too many bad things, but like anywhere, the wealthy buy the children of the poor and so on. But it is fairly open, compared to the US babynapping rings, Kids For Cash scams, cloaked in religious self righteousness.

    And nothing compared to what many poor women go through in America, with husbands hunted and stalked into prisons, framed from birth, etc... or Americas debt peonage system via child support.

    Not even close.

    The Chinese are generally laughing now, and the place is FULL of brand new babies.

    And, laughing at how cheaply the American police can be purchased to monitor their investments IN AMERICA.

    I mean~ forget chasing whores around~ the cops in America all wear shiny red heels these days.

    Google High Heeled policing for the bank.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      renato (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 2:31pm

      Re: China two child policy

      Has the 50 cent army started to work outside China?

      It looks like those Russian in the beginning just post some nonsense on any news related to Russia.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rogs~Huh?, 22 Jun 2018 @ 4:20am

        Re: Re: China two child policy

        Huh?

        Fort Benning bottom of the barrel military cyber recruit alert....

        Why does pure speech challenge you?

        Oh, yeah: ASVAB average IQ+/-97

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 8:04am

    What's with asians licking everything?

    First doorknobs, now this?

    For the uninitiated: https://www.google.com/search?q=asians+licking+doorknobs&tbm=isch

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:16am

      Re: What's with asians licking everything?

      Amusing, but not gonna click that; I don't want it showing up on my work computer's search history... :P

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    renato (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 2:29pm

    The new I-Doser?

    This looks like a new version of those digital drugs offered by I-Doser.
    But with a more human component.

    Does the Chinese cracked those too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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