China is about to pop!
China Cuts Television Programs That Contradict Hu’s Party Line
January 04, 2012, 5:31 AM EST
By Bloomberg News
Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- China’s government said broadcasters must
cut the number of entertainment shows during prime time by more than
two-thirds, culling a format that exposed a widening wealth gap that
contradicts the Communist Party’s core dogma.
The total number of entertainment shows,
including dating programs, game shows, talk shows and “emotional
stories” airing from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. was cut to 38 as of Jan. 1,
from 126 at the end of last year, the official Xinhua News Agency
reported late yesterday, citing the State Administration of Radio, Film
and Television, or SARFT.
China announced the plan in October as part of a
broader effort by the Communist Party’s Central Committee to assert more
control of the media and Internet as it grapples with rising social
unrest over work conditions and government corruption. Reality TV can
undermine the party’s line that China is becoming more “harmonious,”
said Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at Chinese
University of Hong Kong.
“In the eye of the commissar, such dramas or
shows tend to spotlight socioeconomic ills, and exacerbate ordinary
folks’ feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness,” Lam said. “The CCP wants
to nurture a society of decreasing contradictions and increasing
Promoting a “harmonious society” where riots,
strikes, and corruption decline and happiness and stability increase is a
key theme of President Hu Jintao’s decade-long tenure as China’s top
leader. Hu is due to step down from his post of Communist Party General
Secretary late this year with Vice President Xi Jinping in line to
succeed him as head of the party that has ruled China since 1949.
The prime-time entertainment shows, viewed by
millions of Chinese both inside and outside of the country, often
highlight unhappiness, materialism and disharmony. A dating show “If You
Are The One” cited a woman saying she would rather cry in a BMW after a
male contestant offered her a ride on a bicycle. The show made some
changes after being told by censors to tone down its programing, the New
York Times reported Dec. 31.
Another program, “Snail Dwelling,” portrayed a
fictional urban couple’s efforts to buy an apartment. One episode
featured a Communist Party official offering an envelope of cash to a
young woman to help with her sister’s down payment, and she later
becomes his mistress. The show was one of the most popular in China in
The move to curb such programs is aimed at
reducing what SARFT called “excessive entertainment” and shows of “low
taste,” Xinhua reported. Channels must also broadcast at least two
30-minute news programs between 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Xinhua said. “If
You Are the One,” produced by Jiangsu Satellite TV, will continue,
Xinhua reported, citing the SARFT statement.
The Communist Party’s push to reassert control in
entertainment and the Internet also seeks to curb the influence of
foreign influences on Chinese culture.
“International forces are trying to Westernize
and divide us by using ideology and culture,” Hu said in an October
speech that was reprinted as a signed essay in Qiushi, a party magazine,
and published on the government’s website on Jan. 1. “We need to
realize this and be alert to this danger.”
In a globalized world in which people are exposed
to many ideologies and values, the country with the most cultural
influence will gain a competitive advantage, Hu wrote.
The moves come as the Communist Party is seeking
to alleviate social unrest amid concerns protests over widening
inequality could undermine its grip on power. So-called mass incidents,
including strikes, riots and other disturbances, doubled to at least
180,000 in 2010 from 2006, according to Sun Liping, a sociology
professor at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
China’s Gini coefficient, an income-distribution
gauge used by economists, has climbed to near 0.5 from less than 0.3 a
quarter century ago, according to Li Shi, a professor of economics at
the School of Economics and Business at Beijing Normal University. The
measure ranges from 0 to 1, and the 0.4 mark is used as a predictor by
analysts for social unrest.
--Michael Forsythe. Editors: Nicholas Wadhams, John Brinsley
To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Forsythe in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com
In: Regional News
Tags: china, riots, housing bubble, market crash, communist, regime, control, cencorship, revolution, war
Location: China (load item map)
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