Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Campaign, but no election

There is no election pending in China. But the campaign is in full swing. And when you have government-run media to broadcast your campaign messages while shutting off competition, you probably have it made. But, there was never any doubt about that.

So why did they ban Winnie the Pooh?

China rolls out TV series eulogising Xi Jinping ahead of key congress
A documentary series extolling President Xi Jinping’s ideas and achievements in pushing for reforms is airing on state-run TV in China as the country’s propaganda apparatus steps up efforts to burnish his image ahead of a key Communist Party congress this autumn.

The 10-episode series, "Carrying Reform through to the End," started airing at 8pm on the state broadcaster CCTV on Monday. The programmes will also be replayed on local TV channels the following day and streamed on online media platforms.

The series debut came after China’s broadcast regulator banned TV stations from airing programmes such as costume dramas during the “major propaganda period” ahead of the party congress…

The party’s 19th national congress, to be held in the last quarter of this year, is expected to see Xi’s political theory written into the party’s constitution as part of its “guiding ideology”. A formal report will also give an official verdict on Xi’s first term in office…

Xi was eulogised in Monday’s programme as a great reformer who inherited and further developed the “opening up and reform” policies of the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping…

Wu Qiang, a former lecturer in politics at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, said the documentary was clearly aimed at strengthening the personal cult around Xi to pave way for the autumn congress…

The documentary is likely to dominate the prime-time TV schedules in the coming weeks, but Chinese TV viewers will find their choice of soap operas and other entertainment programmes increasingly limited in the lead up to the autumn congress.

The country’s broadcast regulator has banned CCTV and provincial TV stations from airing entertainment shows such as costume dramas during the period ahead of the 19th party congress and the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army on August 1.

Stations were told to prioritise the purchase and broadcast of a list of “recommended” propaganda TV shows, most of which portray positive images of the PLA, police, firefighters or other civil servants.

The notice, issued by the television department of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on June 27, circulating online in early July, triggered strong criticism among internet users, many of whom resorted to sarcasm to vent their anger over the changes.

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