Puns and other forms of wordplay should be completely abolished from broadcasts and advertisements, the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in China announced on Thursday. This is because they are “contradictory in spirit to the promotion of excellent, traditional Chinese culture”, and could create public misunderstandings, especially among children.
Academics interviewed by the Guardian are critical of such a move, questioning the hidden motives behind the ban. David Moser, academic director for CET Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University, said:
“But I wonder if this is not a preemptive move, an excuse to crack down for supposed ‘linguistic purity reasons’ on the cute language people use to crack jokes about the leadership or policies. It sounds too convenient.”
The notice further noted that the witty use of words could lead to “cultural and linguistic chaos”. Radio and television authorities are obliged to tighten up regulations and crack down on inacucrate use of the Chinese language, especially misused idioms, the notice reported.
Aw, this is no pun at all.