SARFT spoofs domestic films – Chang Ping

Danwei has translated an op-ed by Chang Ping, deputy editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly, about the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television and the real reasons behind their ban on “spoofing” of domestic movies (read the original Chinese version here):

What is for? Most people would think that it is used to criticize domestic film and TV; otherwise, why would it issue ban after ban on TV and demand cut after cut during film reviews? Not long ago, a official issued a statement after watching a TV program that parodied Curse of the Golden Flower and The Banquet, saying, “artistic works should not be permitted to criticize domestic film.” Perhaps because this had too much of a “officials may set fires but the people may not light lamps”-flavor and was too divorced from common sense, the media felt uncomfortable recording his exact words in their reports, and voluntarily changed it to “domestic films cannot be spoofed” (‰∏çÂáÜÊÅ∂ÊêûÂõΩ‰∫ßÁîµÂΩ±).

But it appears that SARFT was not grateful; they apparently really wanted you to understand: forbidding you from playing at something was for no other purpose than to keep it for themselves. So goes criticism, and so goes such a fun pursuit as egao. For example, saying “Restricting broadcasts of foreign cartoons during prime-time is the cry of the youth” is very egao: evidently those TV stations were stupidly unaware of the demands of the audience, but fought to broadcast foreign cartoons that were detested by the general youth. Recently, a deputy director at SARFT blasted Li Yu’s Lost in Beijing and urged Jia Zhangke to learn sympathy for others. No matter how you look at it, straight-faced irony, egao criticism. [Full text]

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