Groundhog day in China – Super Girls and the Internet

Make a civilized Internet
This morning, a reader drew my attention to an article on Danwei:

Alongside the movement for a “civilized” Internet, the anti-Super Girls campaign seems to be picking up steam as well. China Times published an interview yesterday with Liu Zhongde, one of the most outspoken critics of the Super Girls phenomenon.

The article excerpted above links to a piece about the “civilized Internet” movement:

[I]t seems that the great push to “Run a Civilized Internet, Use the Internet Civilly” (文明办网,文明上网) is having an effect. Nineteen service providers signed a voluntary agreement yesterday to self-regulate online content, bringing to fruition the “Blog Pact” that was first proposed last year as a way to regulate blog content. Today’s People’s Daily ran an edifying op-ed article by a CASS academician arguing that the only way to enjoy, preserve, and cherish freedom online is to voluntarily limit yourself – otherwise, someone else will have to.

The above stories were written in April 2006.

It’s now September 2011, and once again a campaign against Super Girls is in the news (e.g. Chinese hit talent show to be replaced with housework programme – The Guardian) and so is a movement to clean up the Internet (e.g. : Sina Weibo Braced For Tighter Regulation–Financial Times – Digicha).

Plus ça change…

The links above and the further reading below should also put paid the notion that Super Girls is being clamped down on because it resembles democracy too much.

Further reading

• The final week of TV sensation Super Voice Girls (summary of cast and popular catch phrases etc. from first nationwide smash hit show – August 2005)
• If Super Girls were on CCTV… (translation of satirical Internet post about CCTV’s stodgy style and difficulty in making popular TV shows – September 2005)
• Hot media in Hunan (excerpt of Interfax piece on feisty Hunan media – September 2005)
• Danwei TV – Super Girl Frenzy (Danwei video showing frenzied Super Girls fans in Beijing – April 2006, see also on Youtube)
• Super Girls give Chinese Journalism a Stinging Slap Across the Face (explanation and translation of article by cultural commentator Yang Yu – August 2006)
• SARFT’s guide to talent show etiquette (A notice from the broadcast regulator about new rules intended to stem the tide of vulgar talent shows – September 2007)

New York Times: Popularity May Have Doomed Chinese TV Talent Show

Financial Times: China’s microblogs braced for tighter regulation (September 2011)

Reuters: China seeks to tether the microblog tiger (September 2011)

– The image above is the slogan “Make a civilized Internet – 文明办网 – which was Danwei’s banner for most of 2006 and early 2007.

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