The minor protection department of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, said that “any enterprise, organization and individuals” should be barred from providing inking services, according to a working guideline published Monday. The guideline also prohibits “coercing, tempting and instigating” children into getting tattoos, while encouraging parents to dissuade their children from getting inked.
“Professional tattoo parlors, as well as medical and beauty agencies providing tattooing services, should clearly display signs refusing minors, and ask customers to show their IDs if it’s hard to judge their age based on their appearance,” the guideline said.
Tattoo culture has gained traction especially among the country’s youth in recent years, embracing it as a form of fashion and self-expression. However, tattoos have yet to win wider social acceptance and are frequently blurred when seen on television.
Chinese authorities have often deemed tattoos a “stain” that should be scrubbed by the media. Responding to media queries on Tuesday, the State Council labeled tattooing as a “social risk spot” that could induce illegal behavior among teenagers, saying it will have a detrimental impact on their future employment.
Amanla, a tattoo artist in the southwestern Yunnan province, said he agreed with the ban. He told Sixth Tone that many young people, especially from rural areas, tend to “simply follow the trend” without enough knowledge.
“Protection is necessary,” Amanla said. “But more deeply, it’s also disrespectful to do something merely to be cool without knowing what you really want or understanding the pattern being drawn on your body.”
In recent years, several regions have issued local regulations banning tattoo services for children. In June of last year, a court in the eastern Jiangsu province ordered a tattoo shop to stop tattooing minors after being accused of using ink containing toxic and harmful pigments.
Yuan Ningning, a legal advisor specializing in family education law, told Beijing News that the working guideline has cleared up the responsibilities between different regulators and called for more education and specific punishments. The working guidelines didn’t mention any punishments for violators.
“The central government has already formed a consensus,” Yuan said. “But it takes a learning process among the grassroots authorities for the guideline to be effective. That’s the first and a very crucial step.”
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Heade image: VCG)