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Chunwan criticized for heavy ideological messages

chunwan, chunwan, chinese new year's eve gala

BEIJING — "Too handsome! Aren't they handsome," the actor Ju Zhaojie cooed as dozens of soldiers, from an honor guard of the People's Liberation Army, stamped off the stage, issuing earsplitting shouts.

北京——"太帅了!帅不帅,"当人民解放军仪仗队的数十名士兵在舞台上踏步走,高喊口号时,演员句兆杰柔声说道。

They had just been featured in "The General and the Soldier," a 14-minute skit in the annual Lunar New Year's Eve TV gala broadcast across China on Sunday to mark the start of the Year of the Monkey. CCTV, the state broadcaster, said about a billion people in China and around the world watched it.

他们参与了猴年春节晚会中一个14分钟长的小品《将军与士兵》的演出。官方电视台CCTV表示,中国及世界各地有10亿人观看了周日播出的春晚。

"Chunwan," or Spring Late, as it's colloquially known — referring both to "Spring Festival," an alternate name for the Lunar New Year, and to the four-and-a-half-hour program's 8 p.m. start time — is a cultural institution here. The show has been aired every year since 1983.

晚上8点开始的"春晚"长达四个半小时,在中国已经成为一项文化传统,自1983年以来每年都会举办。

Amid the phantasmagoric colors and frantic activity of the 39 skits, this year's gala, titled "You and Me, Our China Dream — Fully Building a Moderately Prosperous Society," offered the usual diet of patriotism, ethnic unity, singing and dancing children, comedy and kung fu.

在主题为"你我中国梦,全面建小康"的春晚中,39个色彩斑斓、疯狂热闹的节目提供了常见的春晚大餐——爱国主义、民族团结、儿童歌舞、小品和功夫。

The show also touched on some socially contentious issues, like widespread financial fraud and the poor state of interpersonal trust in China (in a skit set at a hospital). But its political content had far more to do with promoting the goals set by China's leaders, like moving the country up the science and technology ladder (as represented by the synchronized dancing of 540 robots and 29 drones).

节目还涉及一些在社会上引起争议的问题,比如广泛的金融诈骗、糟糕的人际信任状态(以医院为背景的节目)。但其中的政治性内容更多地是为了推动中国领导人设定的目标,比如推动中国提升科技水平(540台机器人及29架无人机整齐划一的舞蹈体现了这一目标)。

The gala's heavy ideological messaging and overt glorification of the military led some Chinese to remark that this year's offering was even more propagandistic than usual. At one point, amid images from the enormous military parade in Beijing last September that commemorated the end of World War II, the message "Listen to the Party's command" appeared on the screen. 

春晚浓重的意识形态信息及对军队的公开赞颂致使一些中国人评论称,今年的节目甚至比往常更具宣传意味。屏幕上展示了去年9月在北京为纪念二战结束举行的盛大阅兵式的影像,一度出现"听党指挥"的字样。

"The Chunwan is really a kind of propaganda," Miao Yang, an engineer, said in an interview. "A lot of people felt that especially this year it was more political than usual, whether the military parts or the other skits."

"春晚实际上是一种宣传活动,"工程师苗洋(音)接受采访时说。"很多人感觉今年春晚的政治性比往常更强,无论是军队的节目还是其他节目。"

But Mr. Miao said he watched anyway, like hundreds of millions who either love the Chunwan or love to hate it.

但苗洋表示,不管怎样,他像亿万观众一样观看了春晚,他们要么是爱看春晚,要么是爱骂春晚。

In the "General and the Soldier" skit, Mr. Ju's character, a military photographer, documented a humble general who insisted that a lower-ranking soldier teach him to march. The skit amounted to a careful display by propaganda officials of high-level humility, after the arrests of several generals on corruption and dereliction of discipline charges.

在《将军与士兵》中,句兆杰扮演的军队摄影师记录了一名谦逊的将军坚持要求一名下级士兵教他正步走的过程。在几名将军因为腐败及违反纪律等罪名而被逮捕之后,这个节目变成了宣传官员精心呈现高官的谦卑的一个机会。

Other propaganda efforts were less subtle. Here are some lyrics from the gala's opening song, "Spring Is Here and Happiness Has Come," performed by a clutch of well-known singers and scores of brightly costumed dancers. To a jaunty soundtrack, they touted the latest crop of numerically oriented Communist Party-issued slogans:

其他宣传内容就没那么微妙了。以下是由一些知名歌手及几十名盛装打扮的舞者表演的开场歌曲《春到福来》中的歌词。伴随着轻快的音乐,他们唱响了中国共产党最新发布的充满数字的口号:

"Let us say and sing it out, our mood is heroic!

咱们又说又唱心情豪迈!

The Four Comprehensives are the general arrangement

四个全面战略布局,

The Five Development Ideas are the future.

五大理念引领发展未来。

The might of the Sept. 3 military parade was mind-blowing,

九三阅兵威武震撼,

The Three Must Succeeds earned a 'hurrah' from around the world.

三个必胜赢得全球喝彩。

Anticorruption and clean government are the people's heartfelt wish,

反腐倡廉,民心所向,

The party's work style, the government's work style, society's work style, and clean air fill our bosoms."

党风政风社风清风满怀。

"Was this the Chunwan or the nightly news?" a person called Yao Di inquired sarcastically below a link to the event, one of thousands of critical remarks online.

"这是春晚还是新闻联播啊?"名为姚迪的网友在春晚视频下讽刺地问道。有数千名网友在该视频下发表了批评性的评论。

Other commenters said they enjoyed the show. "A fresh feeling for the eyes and ears!" wrote Pengyou on the website of The Observer, a news site. "A lot better than last year's," wrote a commentator from the city of Tai'an in Shandong Province.

还有一些评论表示他们喜欢看这些节目。名为"朋友"的网友在新闻网站凤凰网上写道,"确实耳目一新的感觉。"山东省泰安市网友写道,"比往届好多了。"

"It really wasn't bad," wrote another commentator, from the city of Guiyang in Guizhou Province. Sounding a bit defensive, the person added: "It's just that a lot of people in China love to criticize and to suspect everything that's from here, and think it's not as good as anything foreign. A lot of people are in a really bleak mood!"

"确实已经不错了,"贵州省贵阳市网友写道。这名网友还发表了颇具辩解意味的评论,"但是国内很多人的心态就是凡是自己国家的一切都是批评,凡是自己国家的一切都是质疑,凡是自己国家的一切都认为没有国外好。目前很多国人的心态确实堪忧!"

2016-06-23

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