China bans tattoos for minors, says they are against ‘socialist core values’

Updated on Jun 07, 2022 11:27 AM IST

Children who already have tattoos but are willing to remove them will be given medical guidance to do so, the civil affairs ministry said.

Any tattoo artist or shop found to be tattooing minors will be strictly punished according to law, the Chinese ministry of civil affairs said in a statement carried by state media on Monday (REUTERS/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE) PREMIUM
Any tattoo artist or shop found to be tattooing minors will be strictly punished according to law, the Chinese ministry of civil affairs said in a statement carried by state media on Monday (REUTERS/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)
By, Beijing

China on Monday banned minors from getting tattoos, saying body art for those below 18 is against “socialist core values”, urging families and schools to discourage the practice.

Any tattoo artist or shop found to be tattooing minors will be strictly punished according to law, the Chinese ministry of civil affairs said in a statement carried by state media on Monday.

Children who already have tattoos but are willing to remove them will be given medical guidance to do so, the statement added.

The ban was part of the Measures for the Personal Governance of Minors, a set of rules designed by China’s cabinet after it consulted several government departments, including the Communist Party of China (CPC) Youth League and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) - which regulates visual and streaming content.

The ministry consulted several ministries and departments including the CPC’s propaganda department, the Supreme People’s Court, the public security ministry - which looks after internal security -and the health ministry.

The measures say that the “state, society, schools and families should educate and help minors to establish and practice socialist core values, fully understand the harm that tattoos may cause, enhance their (minors’) awareness and ability to protect themselves, and rationally refuse tattoos”.

The rules stipulate that no “enterprise, organisation or individual shall provide tattoo services to minors, and shall not coerce, induce or instigate minors to tattoo”.

Tattoo parlours would have to ask for identification, the rules said.

Shanghai, China’s financial hub, was the first city to restrict anyone under the age of 18 from getting cosmetic surgery or tattoos on March 1.

“The Shanghai government said people under 18 years old will be prohibited from cosmetic surgery without approval from their guardians. Tattoo parlours are completely banned from offering their services to minors,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) had reported.

The anti-tattoo campaign is not only aimed at minors though – the CPC is targeting entertainers, sportspersons and celebrities too.

Members of China’s national football team were told to cover up or outright remove tattoos to set a “good example for society,” last December.

That directive was issued by the General Administration of Sport of China (GAS).

Artists who have tattoos are already not allowed to appear in programmes on Chinese state television.

“Taxi drivers in the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, were ordered by the government to get rid of their tattoos last year. In 2018, the government banned hip-hop artists with tattoos from appearing on TV shows. Two months later, it banned tattoos at the Strawberry Music Festival in Hangzhou,” the China-focussed website, SupChina reported last year.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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