‘Chinese media vulgar, kitsch’

This is the second time that the CPC is focusing on China`s culture since Cultural Revolution of 1966.

Last Updated: Aug 07, 2010, 16:03 PM IST

Beijing: The ruling Chinese Communist Party has launched a new initiative to cleanse the print and electronic media from `vanity, vulgarity, and kitsch` asking for an end to `vulgar` publications and broadcasts.

Signalling a new broadside against the three evils, Culture Minister Cai Wu sharply criticised the trend of "vulgarity" and "kitsch" in print and on electronic Chinese media accusing media of carrying "gossip and sensational stories" advocating money worship and consumerism.

The decade has cropped up after three and half decades after the "Cultural Revolution" shook China.

This is the second time that the CPC is focusing on China`s cultural direction, perhaps with a soft touch, compared to violent campaign called "Cultural Revolution" launched by the party founder Mao Zedong in 1966, to purge "liberal bourgeoisie" elements from restoring capitalism.

"We publish more than 300,000 books every year, but how many of them could be compared with the scriptures inherited from our ancestors?" Cai asked in an interview with state run Xinhua news agency.

We produce some 400 movies and hundreds of TV drama programmes each year, but how many of them will be recognised as classics?", Cai queried.

Some local governments had misspent their money building vanity projects, such as urban landmark buildings, instead of basic public culture facilities, he said.

"Some local governments and officials have neglected or ignored socialist cultural construction," Cai said.

Cai`s broadside came few days after comments by President Hu Jintao that the country`s cultural scene was filled with `vanity, vulgarity, and kitsch`.

Reports said that since then, some popular TV shows such as Take Me Out and Run For Love on local TV channels have been stopped.

Cai named no publications or programmes, but the government has targeted matchmaking shows that portray merciless sarcasm and heated arguments between young people looking for partners or just seeking fame, Xinhua said.

Tens of thousands of young men and women across the country have applied to participate in programmes such as "Take Me Out" and "Run For Love," which attract millions of viewers on leading TV channels.

Cai said the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2007 which elected Hu as party leader included "socialist cultural construction" in the Party`s cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

But the overall government investment in the culture sector was low, with less than 1 percent of a provincial- level region`s annual financial expenditures, he said.

The highest proportion was just 0.8 percent, while the lowest was a mere 0.31 percent, Cai said.

"In today`s world, a country`s culture and economy are inseparable. A government must pay more attention to culture and originality if it wants to improve the quality of economic development," he said.

He said the vulgar publications were a side effect of market-oriented economic development, where a profit- oriented system passed off cheap entertainment as culture.

Cultural administrations at all levels should not turn a blind eye to the development of vulgar productions, but should guide cultural organisations to produce more healthy publications, Cai said.

PTI