The following censorship instructions have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
Important notice: From now on, no more broadcasting of chibo [mukbang] style food and competitive eating programs, or other shows with the aim of gluttonous eating (including live broadcasts and short videos).
Since it is now against regulations to host chibo broadcasts, uniformly block any offending accounts and do not lift that block. Please comply and tell those around you not to challenge the rules, as that would be a knowing violation!
In order to evade risk, please suspend the release of all eating-related content, and conceal previously published content. (August 12, 2020) [Chinese]
The leaked directive, issued internally by an online video service to implement central directives, comes days after Xi Jinping launched a “clean plate” campaign to target food waste. The campaign, which domestic media refers to as the second phase of a similarly titled 2013 campaign, is an effort to deal with food shortages related to the massive floods that have affected farmers in southern China at a time when reports suggest that COVID-19 hoarding may have already affected food security.
BBC News reports on the revamped campaign, noting that CCTV singled out the lavishly feasting livestreamers specifically while covering the news:
Chinese state agency CCTV also called out livestreamers who typically film themselves eating large amounts of food.
Known commonly as “Mukbang” – such livestreams are popular in many parts of Asia including China.
According to CCTV, some of these livestreamers throw up afterwards as they are unable to digest the large amounts of food eaten.
[…] The amount of food China wastes is enough to feed 30 to 50 million people annually. So aggressive tactics have been necessary to reshape the way people think about their consumption habits. [Source]