Zhang Lijia

China’s broadcast authorities cancelled recently a hugely popular Idols-like TV show called the ‘super girls’. Author Zhang Lijia explains on her weblog why those heavy handed censorship methods do not work anymore.

China has greatly relaxed its control in many ways. Back in the 80’s, I failed to get any promotion partly because of my curly hair – I am one of the few Chinese who have natural curly hair but my boss thought I wore a perm. In those days, only people with bourgeoisie outlook in life would curl their hair. I didn’t have the correct ideology therefore didn’t deserve a promotion. Today’s young girls feel free to curl their hair or dye their hair purple or blonde, as quite a few of ‘super girls’ do. But the leaders still keep a watchful eye on the culture, which has always been used as a tool for propaganda, for setting moral examples and educated the masses.

There’s always generation gap. And the gap between China’s young generation and their parents is wider than ever before. They are far more worldly, opinionated and harder to be brain washed and they are increasingly individualistic. In fact, one of the selling points of ‘Super Girl’ was that it encouraged girls to be awesome, be yourself and using this opportunity to express your individuality. The heavy-handed way the ‘Super Girl’ was dealt with may not work with the youngsters. The authorities can pull the plug of the show but can’t pull them away from the love songs in English and to embrace the revolutionary songs in their own tongue.

Once Mao’s straight jacket has been unbuttoned, no one really wants to get back into it.

More at Zhang Lijia’s weblog

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. When you need her at your meeting or conference, do get in touch.

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