Government Issues Notices Restricting Media Rights, and Calling for More Propaganda for Children

March 28, 2006

China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) issued three new notices in mid-September:

China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) issued three new notices in mid-September:

Notice of "Self Discipline Agreement for Chinese Radio and Television Announcers and Hosts" (2005-09-10). The Agreement states that announcers and hosts will "voluntarily" obey the Professional Ethical Standards for China Radio and Television Announcers and Hosts that SARFT issued in December 2004. The text of the Agreement is largely identical to that of the Standards. Under the Agreement, announcers and hosts commit to increase their study of political theory, raise their political character and political proficiency, guide people with "correct public opinion," passionately love "the motherland," serve the greater interests of the work of the Communist Party and the government, and implement the Communist Party's "line, principles, and policies."

Notice Regarding Correctly Administering Radio and Television Live Reporting (2005-09-10). The notice warns that live broadcasts of reports relating to politics and government policies must be handled carefully in order to avoid "problems." The notice does not specify what these problems are, but states that in order to "ensure the correct guidance of public opinion," radio and television broadcasters must receive approval from SARFT before making any "large scale live broadcast reports of significant events . . . especially those live broadcast reports of activities chaired by central leading cadres." The notice also requires all radio and television broadcasters to be sensitive to "political" issues and "increase their political acumen and their powers of political discrimination." Broadcasters must also screen live broadcast reports to "ensure their orientation is correct."

Urgent Notice Regarding Prohibiting the Use of Dedicated Programs to Broadcast Foreign Animated Films (2005-09-13). The notice complains that some televisions stations in China have been broadcasting foreign animated features without first allowing SARFT to screen them. The notice is partly a move to increase the Communist Party's ability to influence the political ideology of China's children, as it says that some of the animated features have "orientation mistakes," and calls on broadcasters to increase their "political awareness" and aggressively carry out the implementation of the "Certain Opinions of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council Regarding Strengthening and Improving the Building of Children's Ideology and Morality." It also comes in the same week Xinhua reported a Chinese company was developing a series of video games based on 100 Chinese heroes to promote patriotism and allow children to be "influenced by the characters [sic] of the national heroes." Another Xinhua report (in Chinese) said the first game in the series was introduced by Shi Feng, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, which recently announced (in Chinese) it would invest 15 billion yuan to promote the creation of 100 government-developed computer games over the next five years. The notice is also an example of economic protectionism, however, as it specifies that at least 60 percent of animated feature broadcasts must be domestic productions. Since May 2005, Chinese authorities have issued at least six other regulations and launched at least one crackdown in order to limit the economic and political influence of foreign news and entertainment media in China.