On Oct. 24th 2011, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) issued the Further Strengthening the TV Star Integrated Channel Program Management Advice (《关于进一步加强电视上星综合频道节目管理的意见》), aiming to curtail the excessive entertainment TV programs. The document is thus called by the Chinese public as another “Entertainment Restriction” (限娱令) on television programs.
According to the Entertainment Restriction, dating and other 6 kinds of programs will be restricted; no more than two entertainment programs can be aired during the prime time (7:30-10:10 pm) in every satellite channel; every provincial satellite TV must have at least one moral promotion program; no more than 10 talent shows can be aired annually and they shall not be of in the same category.
Programs documenting crimes which can expose or amplify the evil and disharmonious side of the society are to be restricted. Popular outdoor sports contest programs like Zhi Yong Da Chongguan (《智勇大冲关》) are also restricted.
In addition, rumor has it that from next year on, there will be a restriction on the appearance of Taiwanese performance artists in Chinese TV programs, given the impact that it has on the mainland market and the alleged ‘Taiwan’s boycott against Mainland artists’.
Taiwanese artist Ou Di (欧弟) is one of the most famous hosts in the popular mainland entertainment show Tian Tian Xiang Shan (天天向上). The recent Entertainment Restriction has forced him to temporarily leave the show and go back to Taiwan to continue his career.
The release of the Entertainment Restriction has sparked heated discussion in China. Spokesman of SARFT later explained that to quote the advice as an “Entertainment Restriction” is incorrect and misleading, because it doesn’t just curtail the entertainment programs, at the same time it encourages, “harmonious, healthy and theme melody* TV programs, such as programs about art appreciation, knowledge of history, geography and astronomy.” He explained that the reason for issuing the restriction is because the Chinese audiences have complained about the excessive entertainment programming.
*The theme melody, (主旋律, zhǔxuánlǜ), here is it’s official definition other than music:
Thematic work is to build socialism theory with Chinese characteristics and to follow the Party’s basic guidance, strongly advocate all thoughts and spirits which benefit in promoting patriotism, collectivism and socialism, strongly provide thoughts and spirits which are conductive to national unity, social progress and people’s well-being, strongly advocate the spirit of create better life with honest work.
It is basically a campaign in China to promote the notions of “Communist Party is good, socialism is good, reform and open-up is good, the great motherland is good, all the ethnic groups are good”. Anything that goes with the above notions is in tune with the “theme melody”.
While the advice restricts time for entertainment programs, it also demands that every star-level comprehensive channel to increase news programs. During 6:00 to 24:00, every star-level channel must broadcast news programs for at least 2 hours; during 18:00-23:30, there must be at least two self-produced news shows aired, each lasts for no less than 30 minutes.
Early this September, the crazy-popular singing contest Super Girl (快乐女声 Chinese version of American Idol) was pulled off the air permanently after SARFT ordered the show to end its run because it thinks the show has exceeded the time limit – from a few minutes in some cases to a whopping 90 minutes on this season’s first episode.
Netizens Comments from Netease
星尘43731851 [网易陕西省西安市网友]：2011-10-28 14:17:05 发表
What a stupid entertainment restriction. There are much more entertainment shows in foreign TV channels, they are even ten times crazier. But I don’t see any decline in their moral level. Isn’t blaming the moral problems on television way too far-fetched! After all, education should be the one to blame. You should spend time to reform the education instead of interfering with television programs. Now television programs are restricted, and the restriction on Internet is getting tighter and tighter, Google.com is almost not functional in China. If this goes on, will our country end up like North Korea?
songyunfeis [网易辽宁省丹东市网友]：2011-10-27 08:37:19 发表
“I personally support this decision of the SARFT. There is too much vulgarity in the present TV shows. So many talent shows encourag people to gain popularity over night. This has a harmful influence on the society, especially on the youth. At the same time, I hope this also apply for the CCTV.
村党支部第一书记 [网易重庆市网友]：2011-10-25 09:35:13 发表
The easiest way is to ban TV and Computers, and let’s all go back to the ancient times.
iorvivi0 [网易天津市网友]：2011-10-27 22:37:51 发表
When I open the TV, all I can see are either talent shows or another show that imitates it, either dating programs or talk shows on relationship problems. And you can’t tell if they are fake or not. Even my niece in middle school knows not to turn on the TV because his teacher told him so. That’s pathetic. TV should be a window that opens everybody to a world . However, watching TV today is just like you stumble into a messy backstage.
网易福建省厦门市网友 ip：58.23.*.*2011-10-27 08:50:09 发表
“This time I’m with the government. The television programs nowadays are just too vulgar. They have their eyes only on the audience rating. It’s time to keep it on a leash. “
foolsam2 [网易广东省广州市手机网友]：2011-11-01 09:28:34 发表
I think the talent shows are great. Just listen to the music and simply ignore the rules of the competition and the judges’ critiques. We watch TV to relax… if you like to learn about culture, or listen to lectures, why don’t you just go to a lecture or read a book?