China calls on regional satellite broadcasters to stop “chasing the stars” – Radio Free Asia

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Chinese media regulators crack down on some of the country’s most popular satellite TV channels, warning them not to broadcast too many star-rated entertainment shows, while calling for more content praising the achievements of the Communist Party of China (CCP) in power under Xi Jinping, state media reported on Friday.

Representatives of satellite broadcasters in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan were summoned to a meeting with officials from the CPC Central Propaganda Department and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT ), the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

“In recent years, radio and television stations in these four provinces and cities have (…) made a positive contribution to the promotion of dominant values ​​and to the dissemination of positive energy,” they told the bosses.

“But some satellite channels also have problems, such as an excessive focus on entertainment, star hunting and speculation, which must be resolutely rectified,” officials warned.

Instead, the channels should “vigorously promote the core values ​​of socialism, focus more on the hot topics of the new era. [under CCP leader Xi Jinping], and focus on its fighters and workers, ”they said.

The channels were ordered to undergo “rectification and reform” and offer more high-quality programming that “guides and enriches people’s spiritual and cultural life,” Xinhua said.

Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan Satellite TV are the most popular channels in China, producing talent shows like “Voice of China” and massive hits like the reality show “Call Me By Fire”.

Instead, shows like Hunan TV’s patriotic “China, I love you” may become the norm after the “rectification” is completed.

The warning to satellite channels came as SARFT unveiled a new production process for centrally approved radio, television and online audiovisual content “in the new era.”

The agency called on all producers of content on radio, television and online to start making television series, documentaries and cartoons, as well as public service films, which “portray major achievements and the story of the century of the CCP’s struggle “.

The newly commissioned content is expected to “fully demonstrate that Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics has taken root,” he said in an Oct. 29 directive.

SARFT will also impose strict controls on the selection of actors and guests, as well as styles of performance, costumes and makeup, he said.

Some social media users said the four satellite channels targeted for “rectification” were the only channels they had ever watched.

Some online comments took issue with the ongoing ideological crackdown on China’s media, which was already tightly controlled.

“Isn’t the point of TV just for entertainment?” said a comment.

Others feared the move could bring China’s radio and television industries back to the pre-reform era.

Members of the public self-photograph on the “Voice of China” TV show in a file photo. Photo: Reuters

Revolutionary operas

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Jiang Qing, wife of the late Supreme Leader Mao Zedong, presided over the creation of the “Model Revolutionary Operas”, the only form of entertainment available to the Chinese people from 1966 until death. de Mao and the fall of the Gang of Four in 1976.

They were available as theatrical performances, recordings, and films, and their songs were covered and sung by ordinary people across China.

The CCP – which marked the centenary of its founding on July 1, 2021 – recently ordered mandatory screenings of several of the model operas in film form, as well as patriotic war films and other propaganda works across China. from April, to take place throughout the rest of the year.

Cinemas are required to show the films several times a week, while CCP organizations and government departments are required to “mobilize” people to attend.

A political essay by a little-known commentator was in the spotlight by Chinese state media over the summer, suggesting that Xi Jinping is moving the country away from pro-market policies of the past four decades, which have become associated with decadence of party ideologues.

The essay, titled “Anyone Can Say Deep Social Change is Underway,” and printed in the CCP spokesperson on People’s Daily, uses the recent crackdown on the scandal-stricken entertainment industry in China to argue that profound political change is underway and will focus on reducing inequalities.

The essay argues that the CCP has launched a “profound revolution” with its crackdown on celebrity culture, billionaires, and the private sector in general.

“This revolution will wash away all the dirt,” said the essay, signed by Li Guangman, columnist and former editor of the trade publication. Electric power from central China.

“Our capital markets will no longer be a haven for capitalists to get rich overnight; our cultural sphere is no longer a haven for sex-crazed celebrities, and the cult of Western culture will no longer be a feature. of our media coverage or our public opinion, “Li wrote.

The article was reprinted on August 29 by the Xinhua State News Agency, CCTV, China News Service, on World time website and Guangming.com.

“Literary and artistic workers, film and television workers must attack the base of society, make ordinary workers and ordinary people the masters and protagonists of art and literature,” said he declared.

A culture and entertainment professional who only gave the last name Li said the entertainment industry has been hit by a number of scandals involving prominent stars in recent months, including the accusation. against pianist Li Yundi for hiring a sex worker.

“The way I see it, these so-called stars, these so-called artists, are just putting on a show,” she said.

“This claim that the stars will influence an entire generation is part of it,” Li said. “On stage they’re all talkative and bubbly, and off stage they’re involved in dirty dealings.”

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Members of the public applaud during the “Voice of China” TV show in a file photo. Photo: Reuters

The Korean wave

South Korean film and television expert Huang Xiaoyi said much of China’s current entertainment culture is heavily influenced by South Korea and is known as the Korean Wave.

“South Korea has had a huge influence on Chinese variety shows, pop idols, music and theater, even under the current restrictions on Korean content,” Huang said. “So I think China is now trying to use the forms of these shows to make remakes.”

He said the CCP under Xi had started to insist on a closed national economy that meets its own demands with less consumption of foreign products, including the media.

He said the move would likely lead to an exodus of Chinese stars.

“I don’t think all of these performers are going to want to perform in the same kind of show all the time, in these patriotic dramas about model workers or political dramas,” Huang said.

“To be frank, China will pay the price, because Chinese celebrities will leave the country,” he said. “There will be huge restrictions [on domestic content], and it will also have a big impact on the export of Chinese programs and content abroad. “

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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