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China: Wang Shuo's Informer Letter Against Corruption of Censorship Department

Categories: East Asia, China, Arts & Culture, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Law

Wang Xiao-feng posted Wang Shuo's Informer Letter [1] to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate against the corrupted practice of T.V program censorship teams. Wang Shuo is a contemporary Chinese writer who is well-known in Pi-zi (痞子) rascal behaviour. The letter is in the style of parody but capture the reality of censorship practice in China. Here is the text and translation:


Wang Shuo : Letter to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate


In response to the call for anti corruption and bribery by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the launching of combat month against the crime of negligence of duty, I, hereby, file a case against television dramas review panel of the Radio, Film and Television System on the widespread criminal acts of corruption and duty dereliction:

自90年代以降,各电视台纷纷成立了以退休老同志和所谓老艺术家为主的节目审查小组对每一部准备播出的电视剧进行政治审查。这本来是一项加强管理、制止电视剧愈演愈烈的港台化庸俗化倾向的举措,但绝对的权力导致绝对腐败,此一小组凌驾于各台专业部门之上,对电视剧能否播出握有生杀大权。自97 年以后,各剧组不得不以审片费向审查小组行贿以期获得通过,到目前为止,这一审片费达每轮审查小组每人三万至五万元人民币,多轮审查则多轮付费,基本没有一次通过的,至少两轮。即使最终不通过,也不退钱。也无人敢要,因为你这次被毙了还有下次呢,除非你不和他们打交道了。

Since the 1990s, all TV stations have set up program review teams that compose of retired comrades and the so-called old artists to carry out political censorship against all T.V dramas. This measure was originally a strengthening in management, especially to prevent the influence of the vulgar Hong Kong and Taiwan dramas. However, absolute power has led to absolute corruption, and these groups of people gain the absolute power on top of all other departments to decide whether the T.V program can be on air or not. Since 1997, all program production teams had to give bribe to the review teams in order to pass the censorship. Each round of review would cost RMB30,000-50,000, if the drama has to go though several rounds of review, they have to pay several rounds of payment. Each program has to go through at least two rounds of reviews. If the program cannot pass the censorship, there is no refunding. No one dare to ask for refund as you have to deal with them again next time and you don’t want to be banned again.

我国电视剧每年生产将近两万集,以平均20集一部算,有近千集。我讲的三万至五万是北京广电系统价,外地可能各有出入。这近千集不管是否都能播出,但都要政审。以最低价每人三万论乘一千是三千万乘10年是三亿,再乘第二轮是六亿。这还不算饭钱,每次审查剧组都要包豪华宾馆,请审查人员大吃二喝唱卡拉 OK,找小姐。这笔账任何一个制片主任心里都清楚。他们和各电视剧导演都是证人。一问就清楚。

Annually, China produces 20,000 episodes of drama, each drama on average has 20 episodes, the total number of drama set would be around 1,000. When I quote the amount of RMB30,000-50,000 per review round, it is Beijing Broadcasting System prices, other provinces may have different charges. Whether or not the 1,000 drama can be on air or not, they need to be censored. If I use the lowest charge RMB30,000 times 1,000, times 10 years, the total amount is RMB300 millions. Multiplies by 2 rounds, it would be RMB600 millions. Such cost has excluded entertainment fee. The review team would ask for luxurious hotel, grand dinner, Karaoke, entertaining mistresses. All management staffs of production teams know the expenses. They, together with drama directors, can serve as witness. Just ask them to get a clear picture.


China's annual film at the box office is around 1 billion. This group of scum, each team has around 3 to 5 or 5 to 6 members, multiplies by 600 millions, I don’t want to go into this calculation. Damn Marxist Old comrades – scum! Traitors!


INFORMER: Wang Shuo citizens. June 10, 2007

Wang Xiao feng follows up the letter with three questions:


1. If Wang Shuo said there are 20,000 T.V drama episodes annually, how can the team of people watch all the dramas? If they can't, what should to do?
2. As this is a real name informer letter against corruption, we can't just treat it as lousy entertainment news, shouldn't the relevant government departments give an answer or deal with the matter?
3. If Wang Shuo produces T.V drama in the future, will he face revenge?