With an astronomical figure of viewers, Chinese reality shows has utterly captured the hearts of Chinese audience by the magic of staying “real”. However, it is also crucial to contemplate the severe dreadful social problems and provoking political influence created by few of the programmes, which eventually triggered the restriction of the government on those reality shows. (Bergman,2010 ;Jacobs,2011 ;He,2012) The honesty portrayed in those Chinese reality shows is believed as the magic powder of their huge success.
Bergman(2010) justified the argument with the example of If You Are The One, a Chinese matchmaking programme in vogue,where Ma Nuo and Zhu Zhenfang ,two participants of the show who haughtily revealed their money-obsessed personality and created huge public outburst. Condemning the gold-digging culture the show encouraged, Chinese audience, yet, devotedly followed the show because the show are “honest” and depicted the de facto values of the young generation(Yan Mu, cited in Bergman,2010).
Another example illustrated in He(2012)’s journal is another prominent show ,The Voice Of China. He(2012) analyses the core magic of the show is the ordinariness of the contestants which aroused the consensus of the audience and most importantly, encouraged the viewers to never give up( Peggy He, cited in He,2012). Yet, while the public are madly fascinated by the reality shows, the authorities suddenly announced several strict regulations on the programmes.
According to Bergman(2010) ,the SARFT banned matchmaking shows with provocative contents and demanded strict screening system for the participants. Meanwhile, targeted Li YuChun’s tomboy figure, the government interfered Super Girl (Bergman,2010;Jacobs,2011), and even interdicted shows which include sex-transformation or cosmetic surgery, such as The First Heartthrob and Happy Boys Voice, another Idol show for its “unhealthy songs” and “wild hair” three years later (Bergman,2010).
To explain the reasons behind the fierce response of the authorities, critics and scholars believe the culprits are the outrageous contents, the popularity of the shows and also the provoking political gestures. In fact, not only did the American-styled reality programmes with its huge success intimidate the state-run broadcaster, CCTV, but also cast degraded moral values and induce dreadful threats to Chinese culture(Liu Zhongde, cited in Jacobs,2011) with their incensing messages such as, a father being upbraided by his own son(Jacobs,2011).
Yet, the mortal wound is believed to be the adaptation of voting system in some of the shows which, portrayed a dangerous gesture provoking democracy in China, a lethal point of the PRC governance. In conclusion, the “real” element of the Chinese reality shows did boost their popularity among audience, yet, by intimidating the PRC governance, it becomes the culprit for dooming the continuity of the programmes. (Total:434 words)