China is to restrict domestic art troupes from performing at prestigious venues abroad, saying many did so not for any artistic merit but merely to boast, and had abused public money and resources.
More and more troupes are staging performances or exhibitions at world-famous centers like Vienna's Golden Hall in the name of "cultural exchange", the Ministry of Culture said on Wednesday.
Rather than attempting to draw crowds and profits, they rent venues at their own expense and give away tickets for free or even pay the audience to attend. They will then advertise using slogans like "as staged in Vienna", and declare themselves famous.
In China, theater companies that have toured abroad are seen as an elite, and some companies have used government funds to organize such events. The practice not only wastes human resources and money, but tarnishes the "artistic dignity" of the country, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry will take various steps to regulate these groups, especially those who go abroad on public business, and put a stop to the practice.
Vanity is the indulgence of formalism, which the Communist Party of China is currently trying to sweep away. Cultural authorities, the ministry says, should guide troupes to genuine cultural activities via official channels.
The companies sponsored by the governments may not apply for funds just to raise their prestige. Self-funded performances or exhibitions abroad may not receive funds before they have been examined by the ministry. Individuals may not perform at international organizations' headquarters without the approval of the ministry and the resident Chinese delegation.
Authorities must not support vanity events, and officials working abroad may not attend, endorse nor cut the ribbon at these events, the ministry said.