From the Chinese press

Updated: 2013-08-16 08:52

(China Daily)

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End of lavish entertainments

Five ministries recently issued a joint notice that prohibits local governments from organizing expensive entertainments and advocates celebrating festivals in a simple manner. This is a good move to put an end to their indulgences at taxpayers' expense, says an editorial in People's Daily. Excerpts:

With the development of the economy, many local governments have acquired the habit of spending public money on themselves. Especially during festivals, it seems they are engaged in a competition to see which one can waste the most money. It is no longer rare for them to spend tens of millions of yuan on a single entertainment performance.

Such luxury, instead of symbolizing cultural prosperity, only exposes problems. The money for luxurious performances comes mainly from taxpayers; spending on the entertainment of officials means there is less money available to raise the living standards of ordinary people, especially as the economy is now slowing. There are 128 million people in the country who still live in poverty, while the average per capita GDP lags well behind that of developed countries. The people's needs are more pressing than the desire of officials to be entertained.

That's why the recent joint notice of the five ministries is a welcome move. Prohibiting local governments from staging luxurious entertainments will save public money that can be used to improve people's lives, and help the central government in its efforts to curb the extravagant spending of local officials. We hope more measures to promote a more frugal work style will follow in the future, so that local governments can win back people's trust.

Free cartoons of adult elements

Children love the home-made cartoon series, The Bear is Coming, but some parents have complained about the foul language used in the series, saying it will have a bad influence on children. The controversy exposes the problems with the cartoon series, although it is one of the best to come out of China, says an article on Excerpts:

Some cartoon serials made in China have used foul language and, in some cases, even violent and bloody scenes. Chinese cartoons contain many adult elements, such as conspiracies and swear words. Moreover, some animations without even a reasonable storyline are shown on TV just to make up the quota.

In contrast, cartoon series produced in the West are tailor-made for children and thus never use foul language and ensure that unnecessary gory scenes do not creep into the production.

The production of animated cartoons in China increased from about 3,000 minutes in 2004 to 220,000 in 2012, accounting for about one-third of the world's total thanks to the government's supportive policies. The problem is that government policies aimed at promoting the animation industry will also encourage some unscrupulous people to produce cartoons just to make profits without any regard for quality or children's healthy development.

China has implemented many measures to boost the cultural industry. But it should also have laid equal emphasis on profit and social benefits. Companies and production houses providing products for children should act more responsibly. Besides, relevant departments must rethink how to improve incentives for them and, at the same time, facilitate a healthier development of China's cultural industry.

(China Daily 08/16/2013 page9)