Opinion / From the Press

Cross-talkers must focus on graft

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-12 09:28

Two young cross-talk artists will reportedly perform a show satirizing corruption during the Spring Festival evening gala next year. They will narrate the story of an honest civil servant trying to protect his integrity when tempted by bribery. Such attempts to touch on sensitive issues should be encouraged to reinvigorate and popularize this age-old form of art, says an article in Yangtze Evening News. Excerpts:

The Spring Festival gala telecast on China Central Television on the eve of the Lunar New Year has been one of the biggest attractions for Chinese people both at home and abroad. In the past, the gala has featured pungent cross-talk shows satirizing fake products and how difficult it is for rural people to get government subsidies for local schools.

But in recent years, the annual show has been criticized for being too politically correct and deliberately avoiding sensitive issues that affect people's lives. Although producers of the gala are not bound to comment on politics, they are criticized for deliberately circumventing burning issues.

Since art is closely related to people's lives, it cannot turn a blind eye to the anti-corruption campaign across the country which affects the people. TV viewers will feel that something is missing if corruption does not figure on the Spring Festival gala.

Cross-talk artists have the ability to express people's opinions, often discontent, in an exaggerated way by playing with words. If the artists constantly hold themselves back for fear of offending people in power, they will only come up with a mediocre performance.

We need an environment of tolerance for art to prosper and diversify. Not only should corruption-related shows be encouraged, but also artists should feel free to tell a story in their own way. In other words, if a civil servant in a cross-talk story takes bribes, it should not be regarded as "going against the general spirit of fighting corruption."

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