In the crusade against China’s mukbang livestream community, Guangdong Province has taken decisive action, making it illegal for users to post mukbangs or other “binge eating” videos.
The term mukbang originated in Korea, and has since spread across the globe. It refers to videos in which a host consumes a large quantity of food, often interacting with a live audience.
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The official decision to ban the format isn’t exactly surprising, given China’s ongoing campaign to reduce food waste. President Xi has made food security a top priority, urging officials across the country to implement stricter measures to discourage over-indulgence.
Earlier this year, mukbang livestreamers became a target during China’s “Clean Plate” campaign. Although the campaign did not directly mention banning mukbangs, the trend received immense criticism from official bodies. China Central Television (CCTV) published an article decrying the content as promoting overindulgence, and setting a bad example for viewers.
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Social media platforms like Douyin also took action against mukbangers. When people searched for terms associated with the trend, like the genre’s Mandarin moniker “big stomach king” (大胃王), they were faced with messages like “refuse waste and eat responsibly.” Weibo has also been removing videos and restricting livestreams showing mukbangers.
Mukbangs are one of the fastest-growing online video genres, racking up more than 24.8 billion views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Legions of fans tune in to watch their favorite livestreamers chow down on massive meals, with many reporting the videos’ ‘soothing,’ ASMR-like quality as a major draw.
Others feel differently about the genre, fearing that it promotes unhealthy and wasteful eating habits, and normalizes binge eating.
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Cover image: The Cheap Lazy Vegan
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