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100 days of boring television to celebrate China’s 70th anniversary

Would you watch any of these "patriotic" TV shows? You may not have much of an alternative.

We are a little over three months away from the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which means it’s time for the country’s top media regulator to flex its muscle and enforce arbitrary rules about what people can watch on television in the days leading up to the national celebration.

According to a notice (in Chinese) issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) on July 31, China is set to roll out a patriotic TV campaign called “100 Days of Broadcasting” (百日展播 bǎirìzhǎnbō).

As part of the initiative, media authorities have compiled a list of 86 TV shows that they consider timely and relevant in this hyper-political period. While SAPPRFT hasn’t explicitly required local stations to broadcast any of them, there’s every indication that stations are strongly encouraged to do so over the next three months.

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As stated in the document, the shows on the recommendation list share several commonalities, such as their “notable themes” and focus on the “various stages in the extraordinary journey of how the Chinese nation stood up, became prosperous, and achieved greatness.” In case you’re wonder if there’s anything good on the list, make your decision based on the following titles: 

  • The People’s Choices 人民的选择
  • I Love You, My Country 我爱你, 祖国
  • We Are a Family 都是一家人
  • The Road to Glory 荣耀之路
  • Police Affairs in a Small Town 小镇警事
  • The Great Psychiatrist 了不起的儿科医生

The guidelines also ask local TV stations to “stay political” and “be aware of the whole situation.” And most importantly: In the 100 days leading up to the anniversary, SAPPRFT wants TV stations across the country to stop broadcasting programs that are not “in tune with the general atmosphere,” such as historical and idol dramas that contain “too many entertaining elements.”

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

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