China to Pack Artists Off to Countryside for ‘Correct View’
China’s top film and television industry regulator says it will send artists to the rural areas and to the grassroots to learn the “correct literary viewpoint,” according to a state-run news media on Monday.
The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SGAPPRFT) will assign themes of five films and five TV dramas every year, and send the directors, screenwriters, actors and actresses, and all cast members to the grassroots communities to experience life, the report says.
Meanwhile, 100 state television anchors, broadcasters, and directors will be sent to “old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority areas, and border areas” each year to interview and collect information for their programs.
The art workers are required to live among the people for at least 30 days in a year. The places the artists will be sent to could be all kinds of grassroots places, including remote mountainous areas, farms, community schools, barracks, workshops, factories, mines, and so on, the report says.
For instance, the television stations in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are going to send their staff to several old revolutionary base areas in the Yimeng and Taihang mountains to seek inspirations for an animation series about “little anti-Japanese heroes” and other themes related to the “Chinese dream.”
The spokesperson of SGAPPRFT Wu Baoan told the Chinese press that the plan is made according to the guidelines taken from a speech by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping on Oct. 15. Wu said the plan is a long-term effort to make art workers “establish correct literary viewpoint” and “self discipline their ideology and action.”
Xi criticized the low quality and taste of Chinese contemporary literary and art work in his speech. “Literature can’t be a slave of the market, and it shouldn’t bear the stench of money.” Xi said. Xi emphasized that literary and art works should serve the socialism.
Many media and scholars have linked Xi’s speech to the Yan’an Talks in 1942 hosted by former CCP leader Mao Zedong who emphasized that literary and art work should serve politics and revolution. “China’s revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise, must go among the masses,” Mao said in his Yan’an Talks.
Sending knowledgeable people including art workers to the countryside to learn socialist values was heavily implemented in China under Mao’s order during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 70s. Over 16 million young Chinese from cities were sent to rural communities at the time.
Xi was among belonging to the group called the sent-down generation, spending the seven years from 1969 to 1976 in rural Shaanxi Province. He published an article about his sent-down experience, expressing his gains of confidence and knowledge from the hard life in the countryside.
The SGAPPRFT also issued an order last week to ban puns in films, radio and TV programs. “Radio and television authorities at all levels must tighten up their regulations and crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language, especially the misuse of idioms.” the order says. The improper use of the Chinese language is considered damaging to the ideological content and moral value, it says.