Shanghai bans minors from getting tattoos, nationwide ban may follow
Since March 1, minors are no longer allowed to get tattoos legally in Shanghai without parental consent. By implementing the ban, the city became the first in China to set a minimum legal age for those wishing to get tattoos.
However, a nationwide ban is being discussed.
During the ongoing political event known as Two sessionswhere China’s political elites meet and discuss regulations, a representative named Ma Qi call for expand the tattoo ban for minors across the country.
To put this into context: most Western countries set the age limit for getting a tattoo at 18 or 16 (with parental consent). The minimum age to get a tattoo in East Asian neighbor South Korea is also 18 (although the nation has a weird law stating that only medical professionals can work as tattoo artists).
Shanghai’s new tattoo regulations are part of a series of amendments to municipal regulations aimed at protecting underage citizens, such as banning minors from performing plastic surgery, which is becoming increasingly common. incredibly popular in the countryside.
For some Shanghai-based tattoo artists, like X-Ink, the underage tattoo ban will have little effect on how they run their businesses.
“Even though there were no regulations before, if a minor came to my store, I would say no straight up and tell them to come back in a few years,” he said.
According to X-Ink, tattoos among young people are a bigger problem in smaller towns, where safety standards are lower and cultural awareness around tattoos is low.
He mentioned a Case in 2019, where a couple living in a county town in Zhejiang province successfully sued a tattoo parlor after their son was suspended from school over his body art.
X-Ink tells RADII that he supports the new regulations in Shanghai:
“I think tattoos need to be regulated. Preventing minors from getting tattoos is common overseas; I already exercise my practice and I provide my equipment in accordance with international standards.
Many Chinese netizens seem to share his opinion. A hashtag related to the new law went viral on Weibo and had racked up over 270 million views at the time of writing.
An user commented“I would set the age limit at 20,” while another wrote under the same post, “Minors shouldn’t get tattoos, but tattoos shouldn’t lead to stigma either!”
While tattoos are gain popularity among young Chinese, many still associate them with crime and believe that people who practice body art may encounter obstacles when looking for a job.
The Chinese government has paid increasing attention to tattoos in recent years. Public figures such as athletes and entertainers have been urged to ‘set a good example’, with authorities calling for tattoos to be covered at music festivals and to prevent actors with tattoos to appear on television.
In December 2021, the General Administration of Sport of China banned football players to get new tattoos and asked them to consider removing existing ones.
All images via Unsplash