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Zhang Guoli Weibo Controversy (Updated)

An awkward media moment has got Weibo talking. When CCTV reported that actor and director Zhang Guoli advocated for stronger monitoring of web dramas at China’s plenary sessions, the actor posted that he had not spoken at all yet.

Manya Koetse

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An awkward media moment has got Weibo talking. When CCTV reported that actor and director Zhang Guoli advocated for stronger monitoring of web dramas at China’s plenary sessions, the actor posted that he had not spoken at all yet.

Actor and director Zhang Guoli (张国立) was attacked by Weibo netizens after CCTV reported he pleaded for stronger monitoring of Chinese online dramas at the ‘lianghui'(两会), China’s plenary sessions. The actor then went online to defend himself, saying: “Dear friends at CCTV, I haven’t even made a statement yet!”

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Although Zhang Guoli’s comment was soon deleted or removed by Weibo’s censors, the moment was reported by other Weibo accounts, attracting the attention of Weibo’s netizens.

Global Times also reported the incident. “The media is always like this,” one netizen responds: “they report about a speech before someone has actually spoken!” Many netizens seem to think the situation is hilarious, expressing their amusement with laughing emoji’s.

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Zhang has over 570000 fans on his official Weibo account. The actor is especially known for his roles playing the Emperor in various costume dramas about imperial China.

According to Global Times, the actor exclusively stated to one of their reporters at the Lianghui that he did not make the reported statements about monitoring online dramas (see featured image).

Zhang+Guoli+Back+1942+Portrait+Session+7th+RTleCuEwhkXl Zhang Guoli, picture via Zimbio.

Although many Chinese media outlets have now published about Zhang’s denying the stricter monitoring issue, the former report that is titled “Zhang Guoli: online dramas need stricter monitoring – you cannot just put everything on the internet” is still online and republished by different Chinese media sources. The article states that Zhang “made a strong appeal to strengthen the supervision over the entire process of online soap operas.”

Update 21.30 (China Time Zone):

On Twitter, CCTV America digital producer Du Yubin tweeted to Voice of America SE Asia bureau chief Steven L Herman and What’s on Weibo, suggesting that Zhang is not speaking the truth in denying he has made the statement.


Translation: “(…) Because now all web dramas are done independently, and when they are finished they go online. It’s self-examination. But you haven’t talked about the scale – everything just goes online. And many dramas come out, it strongly reflects modern times. Now again, this has already been dealt with. I also wanted to raise this proposal, but it was already decided before. Afterwards it must be like this, which is first examine and report for approval, and then make it (..).

As the video does not show the time or context of this speech, the situation remains unclear.

On Weibo, netizens are also discussing the video, that was posted by Sina Weibo. One Weibo netizen says: “The problem is that there is a video where he backs this proposal.” Other Weibo users respond: “This clearly is about a proposal by the SARFT [State Administration of Radio, Film and Television] and not about his own proposal,” and: “It was not his proposal, and the first part of the video is audio only.” Another netizen says: “He did not delete his own post, it was deleted.”

The issue now seems to have become one of CCTV versus Global Times, where both Chinese media outlets are reporting a different story – a true media circus.

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    March 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm

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China Media

CCTV New Year’s Gala 2020 Overview: Highlights and Must-Knows

What is Chinese New Year without the CCTV Spring Gala? What’s on Weibo reports the must-knows of the 2020 ‘Chunwan.’

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Chinese social media is dominated by two topics today: the CCTV New Year Gala (Chunwan) and the outbreak of the coronavirus. Watch the livestream of the CCTV Gala here, and we will keep you updated with tonight’s highlights and must-knows as we will add more information to this post throughout the night.

As the Year of the Rat is just around the corner, millions of people in China and beyond are starting the countdown to the Chinese New Year by watching the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Chunwan (春晚).

The role of social media in watching the event has become increasingly important throughout the years, with topics relating to the Chunwan becoming trending days before.

Making fun of the show and criticizing it is part of the viewer’s experience, although the hashtag used for these kinds of online discussions (such as “Spring Festival Gala Roast” #春晚吐槽#) are sometimes blocked.

The Gala starts at 20.00 China Central Time on January 24. Follow live on Youtube here, or see CCTV livestreaming here.

 
About the CCTV New Year’s Gala
 

Since its very first airing in 1983, the Spring Festival Gala has captured an audience of millions. In 2010, the live Gala had a viewership of 730 million; in 2014, it had reached a viewership of 900 million, and in 2019, over a billion people watched the Gala on TV and online, making the show much bigger in terms of viewership than, for example, the Super Bowl.

The show lasts a total of four hours, and has around 30 different acts, from dance to singing and acrobatics. The acts that are both most-loved and most-dreaded are the comic sketches (小品) and crosstalk (相声); they are usually the funniest, but also convey the most political messages.

As viewer ratings of the CCTV Gala in the 21st century have skyrocketed, so has the critique on the show – which seems to be growing year-on-year.

According to many viewers, the spectacle generally is often “way too political” with its display of communist nostalgia, including the performance of different revolutionary songs such as “Without the Communist Party, There is No New China” (没有共产党就没有新中国).

To take a look at what was going on during the Spring Gala’s previous shows, also see how What’s on Weibo covered this event in 2016, in 2017, in 2018, and in 2019.

 
Live updates
 

Check for some live updates below. (We might be quiet every now and then, but if you leave this page open you’ll hear a ping when we add a new post).

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

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China Media

Iran “Unintentionally” Shot Down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752

Despite the overall condemnation of Iran, there are also many pointing the fingers at the US, writing: “It’s all because of America.”

Manya Koetse

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Shortly after Iran’s military announced on Saturday that it shot down Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers on board, the topic has become the number one trending hashtag on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

In a statement by the military, Iran admitted that the Boeing 737 was flying “close to a sensitive military site” when it was “mistaken for a threat” and taken down with two missiles.

Among the passengers were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

Earlier this week, Iranian authorities denied that the crash of the Ukrainian jetliner in Tehran was caused by an Iranian missile.

The conflict between US and Iran has been a much-discussed topic on Chinese social media, also because the embassies of both countries have been openly fighting about the issue on Weibo.

Although many Chinese netizens seemed to enjoy the political spectacle on Weibo over the past few days, with anti-American sentiments flaring up and memes making their rounds, today’s news about the Iranian role in the Ukrainian passenger plane crash is condemned by thousands of commenters.

“Iran is shameless!”, one popular comment says. “This is the outcome of a battle between two terrorists!”

“Regular people are paying the price for these political games,” others write: “So many lives lost, this is the terror of war.”

The Iranian Embassy in China also posted a translated statement by President Hassan Rouhani on its Weibo account, saying the missiles were fired “due to human error.”

Despite the overall condemnation, there are also many commenters pointing the fingers at the US, writing: “It’s all because of America.”

Meanwhile, the American Embassy has not published anything about the issue on its Weibo account at time of writing.

The hashtag “Iran Admits to Unintentionally Shooting Down Ukrainian Plane” (#伊朗承认意外击落乌克兰客机#) gathered over 420 million views on Weibo by Saturday afternoon, Beijing time.

Chinese state media outlet CCTV has shared an infographic about the US-Iran conflict and the passenger jet news, writing they hope that these “flames of war” will never happen again.

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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