The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
State media have criticized the $31 million wedding of actor Huang Xiaoming and model Angelababy (Angela Yeung) at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on October 8. Two thousand guests were treated slices of a 10-foot-tall cake and to the sight of the “Kim Kardashian of China” in a custom Christian Dior gown. Yesterday, Huang appeared on CCTV’s flagship news show, “Xinwen Lianbo,” in a segment about a meeting on arts and literature convened by Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan:
“I feel really inspired by this meeting,” Huang Xiaoming said. “The development of China’s literature and art is getting better and better, and the country takes it seriously. For art and literature workers, this is great. We can embrace the spirit of the speech Secretary-General [Xi] made last year and the requirements of central authority documents, embed ourselves among the masses, and produce more work that will delight audiences, more good work with positive energy. I hope China can support film workers even more, especially young film workers.” [Chinese]
In an October 13 People’s Daily editorial, Chen Xiangyang warned of the “negative impact” the lavish celebrity lifestyle has on the masses, not to mention on Shanghai traffic:
The actor Huang Xiaoming recently got married in Shanghai. According to reports, over 100 tables were set for this grand affair. “Most of the entertainment world” was in attendance, blocking half of Yan’an Middle Road in the city center. A number of city dwellers have complained, and public opinion has raised some criticism.
[…] The marriage of celebrities is a personal affair, but as they “go about personal matters,” they must consider the negative impact they could have on social order and public life. This isn’t just about weddings. From violence, to drugs, to soliciting prostitutes, some celebrities have no idea how their personal lives influence the public. Even if a particular incident is not subjectively intentional, it will add to the common ailment of a lack of social responsibility. [Chinese]
This critique was a bit rich for some netizens. “The People’s Daily is taking a jab at the military parade! Devious!” writes Quanqiushuichanlianmeng (@全球水产联盟), referring to the commemoration of the end of World War II held in Beijing on September 3. CCTV’s chastising of celebrities has backfired before, as when in the summer of 2014 it aired Guo Meimei’s confession to prostitution and gambling following a deadly earthquake and industrial accident in two different parts of the country.
Reflecting on Angelababy’s wedding and the state media backlash against it, popular science writer Tang Yinghong observes on WeChat, “From a psychological perspective, putting down celebrities and the entertainment industry is an attempt to wrest attention from them.”
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.