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And speaking of the Communist Party's tightening controls over popular culture, new regulations greatly limiting so-called "excessive" entertainment in Chinese media programming have now gone into force. It's drastically reduced the number of primetime entertainment shows.
The Communist Party-run news agency Xinhua reported that entertainment programming has now been reduced by two thirds, with weekly, prime time TV entertainment programs falling to 38 from 126.
Those changes have come quickly, following an order issued in October of last year that laid out strict requirements for the amount and timing of entertainment shows. The order was issued through the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and also sought specifically to replace entertainment shows with news programming.
The shows being targeted are mostly programs that would be viewed as commonplace in the West, such as singing competitions, reality programs, and emotional interview shows. Some observers think, however, that the real problem is that these shows fail to deliver enough propaganda value for the Party.
The Chinese regime's recent moves to control media content have been widely criticized and mocked—such as commentary on Party authorities singling out "time travel programs" for a ban last spring. Yet the Communist Party leadership itself seems to view the policies as being of great strategic importance.
Last fall's high level meetings of the Party's top leaders reportedly focused on the issue of "culture", and prominent Party figures including security head Zhou Yongkang and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai have loudly advocated for resisting Western culture and maintaining Mao-era Communist practices.