If you're living in China and you enjoy televised entertainment, watch out: you're about to lose the "entertainment" part. The Communist government is cracking down on shows that are vulgar or "overly entertaining".
A new order from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television demands that China's 34 satellite TV stations must largely phase out shows dealing with marital troubles and matchmaking, talent shows, game shows, variety shows, talk shows, and reality programming. It also bans viewership surveys and using ratings as the sole criteria of whether to broadcast something.
And it's not just television - the Party is also targeting popular microblogs that encourage individuals to generate content.
Why the sudden desire to crack down on entertainment? Last week, the Communist Party of China held a high-profile meeting to discuss the country's "cultural development". The meeting came about because of what Xinhua calls "a debate regarding China's supposed moral decline" following the release of a shocking video of a two-year-old girl being hit by two different vans and left in the middle of the road as eighteen people walked past her body. The girl has since died.
The video has sent serious shockwaves through the country, and the Communist government's crackdown is being presented as an attempt to "touch people's hearts and minds" by promoting "traditional culture", according to Tu Keguo, director of the Cultural Research Institute of the Shandong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.
Apparently the restrictions have been expected for some time, and media reports are claiming that many stations are already tailoring their program to conform.