Reason for Suspension of Shanghai Talk Show Revealed

September 27, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: September 27, 2006 12:00 am

Lang Xianping, professor of economics at Chinese University of Hong Kong, had his finance and economics talk show, “Larry Lang Live” on Shanghai Cable TV 1, suspended this past February. He now reveals that his show was suspended on account of his mentioning several times that the social security fund should not be diverted; this drew the attention of the corrupt forces in Shanghai.

Chinese officials claim the reason for the show's suspension is that Lang's Mandarin is not standard. Before it was suspended, it had been on the air for one and a half years. Lang's sharp comments, along with outstanding invited guests, made his show quite popular.

Many media have reported that the social security fund of Shanghai has been diverted and is currently under investigation by the Chinese regime. Xu Dianqing, economics professor at University of West Ontario in Canada, professes that he will fully support Lang if the reason Lang revealed proves true.

“Lang said that the social security fund should not be diverted, and I completely agree with him. The corruption of officials is so rampant in China because media surveillance is poor. Now some people call for reinforcement of media restraints, however, the exposure of the corruption by media is far from enough,” said Xu.

The common opinion of many economists, along with the policy of the Chinese regime, is that the social security fund should not be diverted. Lang did not mention anyone specifically nor hint that the social security fund of Shanghai was problematic. His comments nonetheless irritated some officials who ordered the show to be suspended. Xu thinks that the incident illustrates a huge problem in the management of the social security funds in China, specifically a lack of surveillance.

“Absolute power is doomed to result in absolute corruption. Without public media surveillance, how can it be ensured that the few officials who manage tens of billions in funds do not to seek personal gains under the restraints of moral standards? It is likely very difficult,” Xu said.

Some media reported that most of the social security funds in various provinces and cities are recently under audit.