Robert Marquand: Even pop culture must get a stamp of approval in China

From the Christian Science Monitor:

In China, foreign- are carefully watched and vetted. No organized initiatives, no serious advertising, no creation of media fads or buzz can take place without party approval. Fads are pushed, experimented with, and sometimes abandoned if their popularity becomes too great or worrisome.

“For many reasons, China allows in foreign imports, jazz, rollerblading, whatever, and it flourishes for a season. Chinese love trying new things,” says a Beijing-based scholar. “But as soon as the fad gets established, the propaganda stops, and the import often dries up. You used to see a lot of rollerblading. It dried up. Even jazz dried up.”

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