It’s shaping up to be a bad week for the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (the catchily acronymed SARFT) – and it’s still only Wednesday. Recent events surrounding bans of video sharing site Tudou and then actress Tang Wei (汤唯) seem to suggest that SARFT is slipping into farce.
First off, there were attempts to mash Tudou due to alleged pornographic content on the site – as we reported a few days ago. Despite the death knell seemingly being sounded for China’s answer to YouTube, it continues to run as normal – completely accessible and with no mention of any impending closure. (Of course, nobody can be too sure what will happen next, eh?)
Then there’s the case of Tang Wei. The entertainment industry in China got itself all worked up over an apparent mainland media blackout being placed on the Lust, Caution star, who officials have reportedly criticised for her role in a film they view as a “glorification of traitors and insulting to patriots”. Yesterday however, in an article (link in Chinese) headlined ‘SARFT denies Tang Wei blackout, netizens express solidarity with star’, the CQnews site – in reference to reports of the move against Tang Wei – quotes SARFT official and head of CCTV Zhao Hua Yong as saying “there is no such thing”.
So what the hell is going on over at SARFT towers? Do such mixed reports suggest an internal power struggle or merely bungled policies? Of course, given the agency’s complete lack of transparency it’s hard to tell, but yesterday’s announcement that the government is to revamp its ministries may mean that SARFT needs to get its act together if it is to avoid being ‘squashed’ itself.
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