China’s Regulators Say Broadcasters Should Be Run by Politicians

China’s top regulators have underlined that broadcasters must be operated by politicians as they campaign to discourage public entertainment. Analysts say the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is transforming TV stations into its absolute mouthpieces. On Oct. 29, the publicity department of the Central CCP Committee and China’s national radio and television administration summoned the nation’s top four broadcasters in terms of entertainment programs. The agencies were the Shanghai Media Group, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, Zhejiang Radio and Television Group, and Hunan Broadcasting System, reported state media. The four agencies are among the most popular in China for their entertainment programs by audience ratings. The regulators criticized them for “excessive entertainment” in their programs, including celebrity fan culture, which they said must be changed. “Broadcasters should be run by politicians,” stressed the regulators. The officials repeated the current rhetoric of Chinese leader Xi Jinping that socialist values must be promoted. U.S.-based author and commentator David Li told The Epoch Times that the CCP has long been weighing up this move to expand its control of media. “The four broadcasters have gained popularity thanks to their efforts adapting to the market,” Li said. “This, however, further unnerves those bureaucrats in the Central CCP Committee’s publicity department and the administration.” The idea that broadcasters should be run by politicians, the critic noted, means that all opinion-conveying media will be reduced to stereotyped mouthpieces for the CCP, confining citizens to one-sided messages from whatever sources are available. “The censorship of the four broadcasters would only push young audiences further away from TV,” the commentator said. “Occasional preachy content will not make anyone interested in watching.” “On the contrary, it will make people sick and vomit if they have the slightest common sense.” Independent China affairs commentator Wu Te also dismissed the CCP’s move as foolish in an interview with The Epoch Times. China’s TV viewership has already been significantly decreased because of the CCP’s censorship undercutting the entertainment industry’s innovation and free dialogue, Wu said. “If those popular programs are removed, there will be even less of an audience.” The current CCP leadership might be afraid entertainment programs are taking too much of people’s attention, posing a threat to increased political brainwashing, according to Wu. He argued that invasive indoctrination on TV would, in turn, add to rebellious sentiment, which is not conducive to maintaining social stability. Eventually, mouthpieces will no longer effectively deceive the Chinese audience. Conversely, Wu said the entertainment programs effectively serve as a distraction from everyday difficulties under the Chinese regime. Wu also noted that the policy of favoring politicians to run broadcasters in China to the late communist leader Mao Zedong. He said that Mao made a statement that China’s newspapers should be operated by politicians in 1957. A memoir by a former senior Chinese journalist revealed that Mao himself would directly appoint or remove editors-in-chief at the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CCP’s central committee, to meet his agenda during his leadership. Xi has been realigning with many of Mao’s tactics in his current rule. Luo Ya contributed to this report. Follow Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China. More articles from this author

China’s Regulators Say Broadcasters Should Be Run by Politicians

China’s top regulators have underlined that broadcasters must be operated by politicians as they campaign to discourage public entertainment. Analysts say the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is transforming TV stations into its absolute mouthpieces.

On Oct. 29, the publicity department of the Central CCP Committee and China’s national radio and television administration summoned the nation’s top four broadcasters in terms of entertainment programs. The agencies were the Shanghai Media Group, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, Zhejiang Radio and Television Group, and Hunan Broadcasting System, reported state media.

The four agencies are among the most popular in China for their entertainment programs by audience ratings.

The regulators criticized them for “excessive entertainment” in their programs, including celebrity fan culture, which they said must be changed. “Broadcasters should be run by politicians,” stressed the regulators. The officials repeated the current rhetoric of Chinese leader Xi Jinping that socialist values must be promoted.

U.S.-based author and commentator David Li told The Epoch Times that the CCP has long been weighing up this move to expand its control of media.

“The four broadcasters have gained popularity thanks to their efforts adapting to the market,” Li said. “This, however, further unnerves those bureaucrats in the Central CCP Committee’s publicity department and the administration.”

The idea that broadcasters should be run by politicians, the critic noted, means that all opinion-conveying media will be reduced to stereotyped mouthpieces for the CCP, confining citizens to one-sided messages from whatever sources are available.

“The censorship of the four broadcasters would only push young audiences further away from TV,” the commentator said. “Occasional preachy content will not make anyone interested in watching.”

“On the contrary, it will make people sick and vomit if they have the slightest common sense.”

Independent China affairs commentator Wu Te also dismissed the CCP’s move as foolish in an interview with The Epoch Times.

China’s TV viewership has already been significantly decreased because of the CCP’s censorship undercutting the entertainment industry’s innovation and free dialogue, Wu said. “If those popular programs are removed, there will be even less of an audience.”

The current CCP leadership might be afraid entertainment programs are taking too much of people’s attention, posing a threat to increased political brainwashing, according to Wu. He argued that invasive indoctrination on TV would, in turn, add to rebellious sentiment, which is not conducive to maintaining social stability. Eventually, mouthpieces will no longer effectively deceive the Chinese audience.

Conversely, Wu said the entertainment programs effectively serve as a distraction from everyday difficulties under the Chinese regime.

Wu also noted that the policy of favoring politicians to run broadcasters in China to the late communist leader Mao Zedong. He said that Mao made a statement that China’s newspapers should be operated by politicians in 1957. A memoir by a former senior Chinese journalist revealed that Mao himself would directly appoint or remove editors-in-chief at the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CCP’s central committee, to meet his agenda during his leadership.

Xi has been realigning with many of Mao’s tactics in his current rule.

Luo Ya contributed to this report.


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Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.