October 17, 2005


Danwei is reporting that China's State Administration of Film, Television and Radio has issued new regulations about language, mainly that all TV series have to use Mandarin from now on. No regional dialects, no funny accents, just straight up "official" Mandarin. They read, in part:

"...addressing current problems that exist in language use in television series, the following stipulations are reiterated:
1. Language in television series (excluding local traditional opera) should be mainly Mandarin. Under normal circumstances, dialects or non-standard Mandarin are not to be used.
2. Major revolutionary and historically-themed television series, children's series, and series promoting educational content are to use Mandarin.
3.Leaders portrayed in television series are to use Mandarin."

The use of Mandarin as China's official language is nothing new, but these regulations mean several very weird things: the elimination of Taiwanese and Hong Kong language influences on TV hosts; the fact that actors portraying revolutionary heroes, many of whom didn't speak proper Mandarin, will now sound like modern day Beijing residents; and TV series, like Vicki Zhao Wei's much-delayed MOMENT IN PEKING, will have to dub in the dialogue from any Taiwanese actors who appear, in order to avoid their regional accents (there's three actors in MOMENT that require dubbing before it can be aired).

It's a little bit like the bulldozing of the old neighborhoods in Chinese cities, except this time it's on a cultural level. It's modern, it's new, and it destroys the past.

October 17, 2005 at 10:32 AM in News | Permalink


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