CHINA> National
Crime to mime, pop stars told
By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-14 07:11

Professional performers who cheat their audiences by lip-synching or pretending to play their instruments at "live" shows are likely to face stiff penalties from next year, an official from the Ministry of Culture said on Wednesday.

Sun Qiuxia, from the market management department, said the ministry will garner public opinion from now until the end of the month before finalizing the details of the new rules.

People who perform for profit should not cheat audiences with fake singing or pretending to play instruments, as has been the case in the past, she said.

Individuals or organizations caught doing so twice or more within a two-year period will have their business licenses revoked, she said.

The ruling is one of a series of regulations being considered by the ministry on the management of profit-making performances, she said.

The practice of lip-synching has been commonplace in China since the early 1980s and the advent of "live" TV and gala shows, at which famous singers were regularly invited to perform.

In an interview with the Shanghai-based Noon News yesterday, Chinese pop star Zheng Jun, who came to fame in the late 80s, said that these days, less than 20 percent of stars actually sing at their "live" shows.

"I really don't know what sort of an industry I'm involved in," he said.

"I once met a well-known singer at a gala show who didn't even recognize his song as it was playing, because it had been so long since he'd truly performed it," he said.

The culture ministry's new regulations also state that Chinese performers must not be paid for charity events.

"All earnings, after the deduction of costs, should go to the charity," it said.

Companies and individuals must report their earnings and expenses from such events to the relevant authorities within 10 days of the performance, it said.

Also under the ministry's new regulations, promoters from Hong Kong and Macao will be allowed to act as sole investors in entertainment projects staged on the mainland.

Previously, such companies were obliged to form partnerships with mainland entertainment firms.