China’s Cultural Revolution 2.0
January 7, 2012Emma5 CommentsCCTV, Cultural Revolution, dating, fei cheng wu rao, Firewall, If You Are the One, Propaganda, reality TV, red songs, SARFT, social media, State Administration of Radio Film and Television, TV shows
Bejing’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has recently released new restrictions for television broadcasters to limit the number of entertainment programs during prime time to two programs per week and 90 minutes per day.
Talent shows, dating shows, and talk shows with emotional content are among the restricted programs that are “excessive entertainment” which leads the Chinese population to “low taste”. Popular programs such as “If You Are the One” and “China’s Got Talent” have stated there will be closer supervision of the comments and attire of the guests to avoid “violence and money worship.” Dating shows that tout a panel of skimpily dressed girls who judge candidates based on whether they have a house, a car and lots of money go against the socialist values. Ma Nuo, one female candidate who appeared on “If You Are the One,” China’s most popular dating show, once infamously said, “I’d rather weep in rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle.”
“If You Are the One” in studio. Click on the pictures to read our story about the show.
In lieu of these programs, authorities recommend news and educational programs to include “innovative content to promote traditional virtues and socialist core values.” These programs are either red songs and documentaries that glorify Communists’ dedication to the country and the people, or TV dramas centering around the second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese civil war, which portray the Communists as brilliant and heroic. This ultimately fuels the older generation’s disdain towards the outside, but the younger generation has grown increasingly impervious to such propaganda largely due to the rise of technology that has offered an alternative view.
Posters of TV dramas shown on prime-time TV: The top tw0, Drawing Sword and Forever Designation, are based on the second Sino-Japanese War. The bottom two, The Informant and Lurk, center around Chinese Civil War.
Many young Chinese people disregard such regulations, as they can easily access any content on the Internet. Most young Chinese follow American, Japanese or Taiwanese entertainment and programming, often via illegal downloading or at unauthorized sites. The surge of tech-savvy Chinese people registered on Facebook by hurdling the Great Firewall is an indicator of increasing access and openness to the outside world. Sina Weibo, the equivalent of Chinese Twitter, has also been key in spreading uncensored, raw information as well as distrust towards the government among the young Chinese population. As one respondent stated, “The government is not filled with the smartest people, they makes decisions based on the whims of a handful of leaders. Westerners probably would not understand how they work, but no one pays attention to them any more anyway.” (Read: Web-streaming of U.S. TV shows in China)
Infographic: China’s social media and digital market (Click on the picture to read the complete story.)
With a growing gap between the closed-off, traditional government, and the open, forward thinking new generation, will socialist ideology fail to cross the technology bridge to the modern world and be left behind ?