The Chinese language is filled with puns and other humorous wordplay, but the country's print and broadcast watchdog does not believe it has a place in the newsroom.
The watchdog has panned wordplay for the media citing that it breaches the law on spoken and written Chinese and if they promote puns, it will make teaching China's cultural heritage harder and could mislead the public, including children, The Guardian reports.
Cultural idioms could create a "a culture and linguistic chaos."
“Radio and television authorities at all levels must tighten up their regulations and crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language, especially the misuse of idioms,” the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement.
The statement also said programs and advertisements must abide by the rule and avoid changing characters, phrases and meanings.
“Idioms are one of the great features of the Chinese language and contain profound cultural heritage and historical resources and great aesthetic, ideological and moral values."
"(Wordplay) is so much part and parcel of Chinese heritage," David Moser, academic director for CET Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University told The Guardian.
The statement from the administration cites rather small complaints about a tourism advertisement to a medical commercial.
The tourism advert must now change a slogan from "Shanxi, a land of perfection" into "land of splendors.' And the medical commercial turned "brook no delay" into coughing must not linger," The Guardian says.
“It could just be a small group of people, or even one person, who are conservative, humourless, priggish and arbitrarily purist, so that everyone has to fall in line,” said Moser.
“But I wonder if this is not a preemptive move, an excuse to crack down for supposed ‘linguistic purity reasons’ on the cute language people use to crack jokes about the leadership or policies. It sounds too convenient.”