China’s Newest Boy Band Called ‘Absurd’ for Being Too Young

Critics say minors shouldn’t be used as a tool to make money for companies.

China’s new kids on the country’s musical block are literally just that — and not everyone is amused.

The seven-member idol group Panda Boys, whose members are aged between 7 and 11, has courted controversy after debuting in the southwestern city of Chengdu last week. On Monday, state broadcaster China Central Television said involving children in showbiz is “absurd,” adding that the country’s idol industry must not profit at the expense of the healthy upbringing of minors.

“Relevant departments at all levels must strengthen the supervision of idol programs, stop the unhealthy trend of using idol economy to make money without a bottom line, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of minors,” a commentary on CCTV said.

While Chinese law prohibits employing anyone under the age of 16, minors are allowed to partake in artistic and athletic pursuits after receiving approval from relevant authorities, including their parents. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry often grooms children under the guise of “idol fostering,” a loophole that means they’re technically not employed for work. Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.