While potentially dangerous for Chinese performers and viewers, for die-hard fans of the genre this move is nothing but an insult. As the »Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response« (ASMR) are normally not meant to be used as masturbatory fetish video – even though many female producers in the West know too well that this is a major factor in ASMR’s popularity. Originally the idea is that the audio signals and diverse sounds by objects and humans trigger a so-called tingling sensation in the viewer that some people experience as extremely relaxing and sleep-inducing.
The National Institute of Health describes ASMR as a »previously unstudied sensory phenomenon, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli. This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being.«
Many people don’t experience the feeling at all, and a good many of people just think ASMR-videos are bogus and mainly porn substitutes. But researchers found that most viewers use the ASMR videos as a stress relief. (It remains unclear if that includes masturbation though.)
Be that as it may, Chinese officials don’t want to go into the specifics of sensory experiences that might be perceived or imagined. The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications ordered all websites and platforms offering AMSR videos to validate again that their contents can’t be viewed as porn.
The anti-porn office released a statement accompanying the order: »A large part of the audience of ASMR audiences is young people. All Internet companies must earnestly fulfill their main responsibilities, increase their efforts in cleaning up and rectifying, strictly implementing content review mechanisms, and establishing a system of protection of minors to filter out content that may cause harm to minors.«
The office makes it clear that officials will start to prosecute »those who violate the law«. As with webcam services last year companies should cooperate fast. Otherwise they might get seized and representatives of the companies might end up in jail.