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Boost for cultural industry

2014-03-26 09:08:58

(China Daily)


Too much influence from administrative power harms the nation's arts and cultural activities, Cai Wu, the minister of culture, was quoted in a new book as saying. These words are supported by the fact that China has hundreds of TV channels nationwide but they hardly offer influential programs and that it can generate 20,000 songs a year yet few are lasting.

Cai has hit the nail on the head, says 21st Business Herald. In the 2014 sessions of National People's Congress and National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, several movie and TV drama directors complained about the complicated review procedures that compelled them to give up good ideas.

Such over-intervention has led to one disappointing phenomenon: When some TV drama topic is found both marketable and satisfactory in content, producers would swarm to the similar stuff, thus filling TV channels with boring dramas that look identical. That is essentially why overseas programs and dramas came to fill the TV market in China while many young people switch to online network plays.

To overcome this dilemma, it is necessary to lessen government's intervention in cultural affairs and let market rules guide cultural professionals. The audiences will decide which works are welcome and which should be forgotten. Only in this way can China gain cultural influence to match its GDP.

Such a move will in turn accelerate China's economic transformation to change its over-reliance on the manufacturing industry and real estate and turn more to services. The cultural industry as a pillar sector of services is important to creating jobs and attracting talent while providing spiritual support for its core cultural values. Influential cultural products are especially necessary in a society undergoing painful transformation.

The Ministry of Culture is doing good moves. Reports say that the power of final review of movies might be delegated to provincial authorities, while the time period will also be reduced from one month to one week. Such measures are no doubt encouraging.

In this world of easy connectedness, China like other countries is aspiring to develop its own cultural industry and to compete globally. It has to integrate its own culture into appealing and convenient forms so as to let audience enjoy the programs. Otherwise, it will be losing its advantages in the face of fierce international competition on the world stage.

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