Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Matchmaking Censorship

For a moment, I thought my previous post  was the curse:  this past Sunday, PPStream ceased broadcasting the reality TV show "If You Are Not Sincere, Don't Bother Me" (非诚勿扰),  just three days after my post.  Not only that, much to my chagrin, all the previous episodes have also been removed.  Then I found an announcement on the PPS website saying they did this to comply with new instructions from The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), issued twice on June 2 and 8. (My ominous post went up on June 9.)

Here is the gist of the SARFT instructions:
婚恋交友类电视节目不能由演员、模特、节目主持人、富二代成功人士等身份的嘉宾占据荧屏;不得选择社会形象不佳或有争议的人物担当主持人;不得 以婚恋的名义对参与者进行羞辱或人身攻击,甚至讨论低俗涉性内容,不得展示和炒作拜金主义等不健康、不正确的婚恋观
[In translation]
Matchmaking TV shows may not let actors, models, program hosts, 'the second generation of the rich,' and 'the successful figures'  appear as guests to occupy the screen; may not choose those with disreputable social image or contentious characters as hosts; may not use the name of love or marriage to insult or make personal attacks against participants, or discuss vulgar sexual content ;  may not demonstrate or  promote unhealthy and incorrect marriage-love views such as mammonism.
Did the bureaucrats at SARFT eat too much and have nothing better to do?  What made them issue such superfluous and laughable restrictions on non-political, entertaining, and revealing TV shows?  Rumor has it that Ma Nuo, one of the earlier female guests in "If You Are Not Sincere," triggered the shot.  Ma Nuo's most infamous quote circling on the internet is "I'd rather cry in a BMW" – her reply to a male guest, a cyclist, who asked if she'd like to ride a bike with him.  (But Baidu has a post that says what she actually said was "a BMW is rather cool." In Chinese, "cry" ()  and "cool" () sound pretty much the same.) Because of this, Ma Nuo's name has become a synonym of "mammonism," and been attacked by numerous netizens.  And this, apparently, became the motive to restrict "the second generation of the rich" to participate in matchmaking shows.

Deng Xioaping, the "father of reform and opening," promulgated the notion that "being rich is glorious." No more, I guess, but wouldn't it be  more effective to simply order "the rich" to stay single, or have a "zero-child policy" for them and their children?
So what is next? Perhaps cooking shows that mention any meats other than pork, or any vegetable other than cabbage, will come under the lens. Or maybe weather programs that suggest anything but fine weather or needed rain are on the way will be nixed. Maybe business programs that discuss financial problems in the Euro-zone will be told to stop that and go along with the official position of expected stability.

Not surprisingly, the hypocritical call is met with hypocritical responses.  So far all the TV stations running a matchmaking show have made sonorous echoes that they "firmly advocate SARFT's instructions," while each and every one of them says they have nothing to do with the criticism. The shows continue; only we overseas audiences are deprived the pleasure of watching them at PPStream's mercy.

Times have certainly changed. It seems like those outside of China can be more strongly influenced by the edicts of Beijing than those inside. The government can continue to issue superfluous instructions that are not sincere, just don't expect everyone to be bothered as much as PPStream.


pug ster said...

Saw this on Chinadaily's website and perhaps this is the reason why this show was censored.


Perhaps it is fun to watch these dating shows, but these shows the ugly side of Chinese society where money means everything. I do think shows like this is discriminatory toward people who doesn't have money, like the people who live in the rural areas.

Matchmaking said...

The question on every once mind is what the best way to Date Online is. Online dating can be very tricky and the people you see online might be different from when you meet in person. Avoid half pictures, most pictures online that are showing just angles, head Photo Breast Photos can be deceptive.

Xujun said...

Pug Ster, have you ever heard the Chinese saying, "If the water is too clean, there will be no fish"? And, a reality show like this is more interesting with all kinds of people on stage than with only ONE kind, don't you think?

pug ster said...

Yet shows like "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" did pretty well without going the contestant's wealth or family status. Maybe if those 'gold digging' contestants who wants quick fame, maybe they should look for a role in a soap opera.