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Top 13 Strange Bans By Governments Around The World

The world has seen some ridiculous and outrageous crackdowns throughout history.  Governments of various countries have passed some strange bans, which, they claimed, are for the good of the people and for other reasons like security and morality.

It is the government’s duty to ban things that make sense, but there are numerous cases of bans that sound like just satire. The authorities repealed such outrageous laws in some cases, but many other laws keep their place in the statute books even today.

Check out our list of 13 bizarre bans by governments around the world.

1. Australia prohibits the filming of pornography that features adult women but “look underage” as it could promote pedophilia.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credits: Larry Knowles/Wikimedia, Pixabay

In 2000, the Australian government passed a law to reduce the filming of certain aspects of pornography which included women that “looked underage.” Concerned authorities worried that women with small breasts are more likely to look underage, according to the government, and that could encourage pedophilia. Moreover, photos and videos of female orgasms are illegal too.

Australia is the home to some of the most stringent laws in the world pertaining to video games, films, and internet restrictions. There is, however, a poor record of enforcement of these laws.

The media around the world met the announcement of this order with strong backlash.(1,2)

2. Japan had prohibited dancing in clubs after midnight for over 67 years. The ban finally got lifted in June 2015.

Image credits: Nicolas1981/WikimediaU.S. Signal Corps/Wikimedia

The rule “feuiho” was established in Japan in 1947 after World War II as an anti-prostitution law. At that time, dance clubs were considered as “Adult Entertainment establishments,” and dancing after midnight required a special license.

Since the end of World War II, Japan has grown into a highly developed and thriving country, but this outdated ban remained in place for decades.

A renowned Japanese musician in Ryuichi Sakamoto led a campaign to abolish the ban, and it gained over 150,000 approval signatures. As a result, the government began to create a new law, but it took a whole year to come into effect.(1,2)

3. North Korea prohibits wearing blue jeans or getting piercings done. They enforced this law to fight the influence of Western culture in Korea as their Cold War against the USA continues.

Image credits: User P388388/Wikimediapxhere.com, Pixabay

North Korea is famous for its ridiculous bans under their supreme leader Kim Jong-un. These prohibitions serve to promote its own culture, and not let any Western influence seep into their country. However, the nation went into meltdown in 2016 when blue jeans and piercings made it to the list of banned items.

The administration primarily exercised this ban in the North Hamgyong and Yangang provinces as these are the regions where the public has better access to the trends and happenings from around the world.

Kim Jong-un’s rigid regime strictly opposes the US culture, and people found culpable of indulging in “anti-socialist behavior” could be directed to labor camps. Not only that, the regime enlists some teenagers as “inspectors” that go around the streets looking for people that break the new dress code.(1,2)

4. It is illegal to buy chewing gum in Singapore unless it has been prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credits: Jon Rawlinson/Wikimedia, Pixabay

It is prohibited to import or buy chewing gum in Singapore. The government only allows chewing gums that have therapeutic value according to their trade regulations.

The reasoning behind this ban is that chewing gums were causing considerable maintenance issues in public housings. The maintenance workers found gum stuck inside keyholes, in mailboxes, elevator buttons, etc. It caused an increase in cleaning costs as it frequently damaged cleaning equipment. Also, they found chewing gums stuck on public bus seats.

The citizens openly defied this ban which came out in 2004, and the news coverage about this resistance spread internationally. The initial ban prohibited all types of chewing gums, but later on, they allowed importing gums that help with dental treatment.(source)

 5. China banned the 2-D version of the film Avatar due to fear of a possible revolt similar to the one in the movie.

Image credits: User:SKopp, User:Denelson83, User:Zscout370/Wikimediachris Doornbos/Flickr, Pixabay

The Chinese government withdrew the 2-D screenings of the worldwide release Avatar. They feared that it could inspire the Chinese people’s imagination to launch a revolt similar to the one depicted in the film. The government also felt that the movie could hinder the local film industry due to its popularity.

The administration banned the 2-D film in 1,628 theaters and instead screened a Chinese biographical film on Confucius.  China had banned some more Western movies in the past. Earlier, authorities banned The Dark Knight too on the grounds of “cultural sensitivity.”

However, they never shut down the screenings of the 3-D version of Avatar because of a lack of 3-D halls in the country that time. Banning 2-D screenings was enough to effectively stop the movie from reaching the masses.(1,2)

6. The Turkmenistan former president banned lip-syncing and playing recorded music in 2005 to preserve “true culture.”

Image credits: Saparmyrat turkmenbashi/Wikimediapxhere.com

The late and former President Niyazov had a track record of issuing eccentric laws. In 2005, he banned lip-syncing and the playing of recorded music on television, at public events, and weddings in order to protect the culture from “negative influences.”

The BBC quoted the then-president as remarking that the law served to “protect true culture, including the musical and singing traditions of the Turkmen people.” Furthermore, he was said to not want to discourage the development of true talent by permitting lip-syncing and non-traditional music.

Not long before imposing this ban, Turkmenistan had also abolished operas and ballet as they deemed them unnecessary.(source)

7. Iran prohibits Western-stylized haircuts on men. This includes ponytails, mullets, and long hair.

Image credits: Various/WikimediaSven Mandel/WikimediaJ Pitts/WikimediaCarlos Figueroa/WikimediaDave Gates/Wikimedia, Pixabay, Pixabay

Iran provides a list of pre-approved hairstyles to choose from. The list contains Muslim hairstyles, but all the styles involving long hair are a punishable offense. The crackdown came out in 2010 and it seeks to promote the Islamic culture by eradicating any Western influences within the nation.

Be it a Mohawk, an outdated mullet, elaborate spikes, or ponytails, men will face harsh consequences for choosing them. Iran has also banned using excessive hair gels and eyebrow-plucking.

The administration strongly advocates short and conservative haircuts. The police have conducted raids on salons offering Western-style haircuts for men and alerted the owners to abolish the haircuts or to shut down the salon.(1,2)

8. African nation Burundi prohibited group jogging ever since opposition parties started using them to launch revolts.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credit: Pixabay, Pixabay

It is actually illegal to jog in groups in the capital of Burundi in Africa. In 2014, there was an increasing tension in the Central African nation, with the rift between the opposition and the government becoming a cause of international concern.

Opposition parties helped inspire people to launch a rebellion against the Burundi government by organizing group jogs. As the jogs were of a political nature, Burundi’s mayor, Saidi Juma, issued the ban outlawing group jogging. When the jogging activities continued in growing numbers despite the new law, the police arrested several activists and even sent them to jail.

Currently, in order to participate in group jogging, the members need to join a jogging club and register with the government. Also, jogging is allowed in only one of the nine government-approved venues.(source)

9. Greece forbids playing electronic games of all kinds. The government outlawed gaming in 2002 to prevent illegal gambling.

Image credits: cs:User:-xfi-/Wikimedia, Pixabay

The law essentially makes it illegal to play any game on mobiles, home-run computers, PlayStation, Xbox, Game Boy, or any known gaming console be it in public or at home. The regime made the cyber cafes cease their gaming services, even the constructive ones such as online chess.

The Greek government passed this rigid law and strictly enforced it with immediate effect. This particular law is among the most bizarre laws of all times.

As per the government, this law is a measure to prevent any form of illegal gambling. The law is not forgiving of foreign travelers as well. Furthermore, offenders can face a substantial fine or a lengthy imprisonment.(1,2)

10. A Polish playground banned Winnie the Pooh in 2014 due to its “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress!

Image credits: Mareklug, Wanted/WikimediaChristene S./Flickr, Pixabay

A local council meeting in Poland suggested making this lovable bear as the face of the playground in Tuszyn. However, the conservative folk met this suggestion with outrage, and one councilor went as far as calling the innocent Winnie a “hermaphrodite.”

The folk felt that the bear is half-naked and covers itself only from the waist-up which is inappropriate for small children.Moreover, they suggested a Polish fictional bear instead and compared it with Winnie by remarking that, unlike the later, the Polish bear is dressed from head to toe.

With immediate effect, the Polish councilors banned Pooh from the playground.(1,2)

11. Milan, in Italy, outlaws frowning unless you are visiting a hospital or attending a funeral.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credits: Richard Kelly/Wikimedia, Pixabay

Milan is one of the most enchanting cities in Italy and is known for its passion. However, the city has an age-old law to ensure that its citizens look jovial.

It is a legal requirement in the Italian metropolis to not frown in public places at all times. The police can charge hefty fines on those who break this peculiar law, but the law thoughtfully exempts visitors in hospitals or attendants at funerals. It is undoubtedly one of the most baffling laws in the modern world.(1,2)

12. It is illegal to wear noisy footwear in Capri, Italy.

Image source: Wikimedia, Image credits: Kai Schreiber/Wikimedia, Pixabay

Capri is a tiny island and a popular tourist spot located in Italy’s Gulf of Naples.

The government in Capri has imposed a ban on all footwear that makes an excessive noise like flip-flops, noisy sandals, and squeaky shoes. Capri is the first region to make a ban of this kind. Earlier, only airport security checks in certain countries and particular professions disallowed the use of flip-flops. It is among the most bizarre laws in the world.

Offenders can be made to pay a fine, and the offense comes with a potential arrest. There have been several cases of tourists landing into trouble with fines since the imposition of this law.(1,2)

13. Parents can name their babies only if they are on the list of pre-approved baby names in Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, and Hungary. For any other name, the parents need to apply for permission.

Image credits: businessinsider.com(Text), Pixabay

Many countries have imposed naming laws to prevent giving derogatory names to babies. However, a few countries have stringent laws on this, namely Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, and Hungary. In these countries, the government provides a list of few thousand approved baby names for the parents to choose from. If the parents want to keep a name which is not on the list, they need special government permission to do so, and the government charges a fee for that.

A few more countries have banned some names that are deemed offensive or humiliating within the nation. Denmark, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and some other countries have a list of more than 50 banned baby names.(source)

 

 

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