The finals of the ‘I am a singer’ (我是歌手) competition has concluded about a week ago. It has got a very interesting format, excellent performances by the artistes and thus overall, a very good show. The show has generated lots of interest among the Taiwanese too. Apparently, some Taidu elements or separatists over there are none too happy with this development and their desperate and illogical antics are reported by a journalist from the US based Wall Street Journal.
我是歌手 20130412 第十三場 总决赛
The article from WSJ:
Taiwan’s Troublesome Obsession With Chinese TV Show.
China’s efforts to project its soft power in the West are widely seen to have fallen flat. Not so in Taiwan, where concerns over the mainland’s cultural influence have flared once again after some local TV stations abridged their regular news programming on Friday to broadcast a Chinese singing competition.
Taiwan’s National Communications Commission is investigating whether CTi TV and ETTV broke the law in giving extensive airtime to Chinese singing competition “I Am a Singer,” said Huang Chin-yi, director of the NCC’s communications management department. The news channels could face up to NT$2 million ($67,000) in fines for skipping regular news broadcasts.
Based on a Korean show of the same name, “I Am a Singer” is broadcast by China’s popular Hunan Satellite TV, which has produced a bevy of hit shows in recent years. The station’s first blockbuster came with the launch of the “American Idol”-style singing competition “Supergirl,” which garnered global headlines in 2005 after its first finale pulled in 400 million viewers.
The large chunk of airtime devoted to “I Am a Singer” in Taiwan came in response to high popular interest, as four of the seven finalists were Taiwanese. The local stations are now under fire for ditching news for entertainment to draw eyeballs. But Taiwanese politicians have also been discussing the political implications of such widespread popularity of a mainland show.
Taiwan, which has been self-governed since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 but is still claimed by Beijing, has long taken pride in the strength of its popular culture. Its music and TV shows are widely exported around the Chinese-speaking world, with programs like variety show “Kangxi Lai Le” well-known throughout the region. Cultural differences are a big reason many independence-minded Taiwanese say they feel little kinship with their counterparts across the strait and regard themselves as a unique nation.
But as China’s entertainment industry develops, some of its shows are drawing in Taiwanese stars and picking up Taiwanese fans, especially some recent big-budget historical dramas with lush costuming and expansive sets that are difficult to match on a smallish island. Last year, the Chinese drama “Legend of Zhen Huan,” an adaptation of a novel by Liu Lianzi that depicts palace intrigue during the Qing Dynasty, became a ratings hit in Taiwan.
Some Taiwanese entertainers have also been lured across the strait by higher pay. Corporate sponsorships for TV programs were previously banned in Taiwan, meaning networks could only depend on regular ads for revenue unlike their Chinese counterparts. In an effort to boost the domestic TV industry, Taiwan regulators eased the ban last year.
Taiwan’s minister of culture Lung Ying-tai said over the weekend that Taiwan needs to strengthen its soft power in the face of China’s advancing entertainment industry.
“We cannot compete with China in terms of capital investment,” she was quoted in the Taipei Times as saying. “We should think about how to maintain our competitiveness via other policies.”