The new rules come into force on June 30 and deprive of agents’ services performers who criticize the CCP, are suspected of ‘separatism,” or follow non-authorized religions.
by Zhou Kexin
The State Administration of Radio and Television recently issued the “Administrative Measures for Talent Agents and Brokers in the Radio, Television and Online Audio-visual Fields,” which will come into force on June 30 next.
In China various organizations and individuals act as agents of performers, actors, singers, and of those who regularly participate in radio, TV, or Internet shows. Their role is crucial as it is in other countries. Without a good agent a performer can never succeed, and somebody who has a history to tell will never be invited to participate in the relevant shows.
Controlling the agents, thus, means controlling what is broadcast on radio, television, and professional Internet entertainment sites.
Chinese authorities perhaps believed there was a gap here in their spider web of totalitarian control of everything. The new Administrative Measures fill the gap. Agents are told that they should “adhere to the correct political direction” and “promote core socialist values,” and will be punished if found wanting in these fields.
Agents should watch those they represent, and their fan clubs, if they have any. Article 10 states that the agents should not offer their services to those who engage in one of the following activities:
“(1) Violating the basic principles established by the Constitution, inciting resistance or undermining the implementation of the Constitution, laws and regulations, distorting or denying advanced socialist culture;
(2) Endangering national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, divulging state secrets, endangering national security, damaging national dignity, honor and interests, and advocating terrorism, extremism, and nihilism;
(3) slandering the excellent traditional Chinese culture, inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, infringing on ethnic customs, distorting ethnic history or historical figures, hurting ethnic feelings, and undermining ethnic unity;
(4) Distorting, vilifying, blaspheming, and denying revolutionary culture, deeds and spirits of heroes and martyrs;
(5) Violating the state’s religious policy, promoting xie jiao and superstitions;
(6) Endangering social morality, disrupting social order, undermining social stability, advocating obscenity, gambling, drug addiction, exaggerating violence and terror, instigating crimes or teaching criminal methods, and advocating for discrimination based on race, nationality, region, gender, occupation, physical and mental defects, etc.;
(7) Damaging the physical and mental health of minors;
(8) Insulting or slandering others or violating the privacy of others, harming the lawful rights and interests of others and public interests;
(9) Other contents prohibited by laws, administrative regulations, and departmental rules.”
The formula is broad, but readers of Bitter Winter would notice that religious activities not authorized under the current religious policies (i.e., “illegal religion,”) xie jiao, and “superstition” are included. This means that talent agents services should be refused to almost anybody who is engaged in normal religious practices, except if these are performed within one of the government-approved religions and within the strict legal limits that also apply to them.
Even if they are not arrested, actors, singers, and talk show frequent guests who would refuse to abandon their non-authorized faith will be deprived of the possibility of being represented by an agent, and therefore will likely loose the prospect of a top-level career.