China: Banning Shanzhai Culture?

Ni ping (倪萍), a famous CCTV host actress and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) put forward a suggestion for banning “Shanzhai phenomena” (山寨現象) in the recent CPPCC meeting.

The term Shanzhai becomes popular last year when a netizen, Lao Meng, decided to hold a Shanzhai Spring Festival Gala online. However, because of unknown pressure, the venue booking for the event was cancelled and the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) demanded all media stop reporting on Shanzhai Gala.

However, Shanzhai culture continues to move on. As the CCTV Consumer TV program, March 15 Gala (3.15 晚會), is approaching, a Hunan rights activist, Zhang Hongfeng (張洪峰), has decided to hold a March 15 Shanzhai Gala. Zhang said that he will release a people's investigation on fake consumer product in the Shanzhai Gala. (via

Ni Ping's proposal to block Shanzhai culture and phenomena seems to provide more official legitimacy for blocking the above initiatives. In the past few days, Ni's proposal has become a hot topic and drawn a lot of debate and discussion in the past few days.

The term Shanzhai has several meanings various from armed mountain village, to small home-based factory, to copycat production. Ni Ping stressed that she referred to Shanzhai as copycat production, however, since she has been acting as the host of CCTV's Spring Festival Gala, her definition of copycat is in question (as Shanzhai Gala is far from a copycat production). Moreover, as recent anti-smut campaign has turned into political censorship, anti-Shanzhai campaign can become another threat to online free speech and expression.

According to local news report, Ni Ping has put forward 7 suggestions to stop Shanzhai's culture in the CPPCC meeing, and she said (via Tianya forum):


I am determined to oppose Shanzhai culture and in my opinion, the law should have clear regulation on this. Nowadays, young people are seriously affected by the Shanzhai culture, they have the idea that this is the so-called “grassroots culture”. However, we should give our young people a healthy education on what are the genuine and what are the fake, what are true and beautiful, what are false and ugly.


The fashion of “Shanzhai” is too fierce, you can find it all over the internet. Now that many young people can go online, they don't know what are the genuine and what are the fake. A majority of “shanzhai culture” are fake, copycat and pirated production. What is more terrible is the fact that all these “shanzhai” productions are claimed to represent grassroots culture, but in reality, they are just pirated and copycat productions.


Popular stars being “shanzhai-ed” (meaning reproduced) is not a major problem. The issue at stake is piracy. In order to stop “shanzhai” culture and “shanzhai phenomena” we have to apply legal and administrative method, through legislation and through creating public opinion.

Below is a selection of reactions in the Tianya's post:



Madame Ni should care more about her newly cut “Shanzhai double eyelid”.



This is a most typical performance of a asshole representative. To save employment? She doesn't know how many workers Shanzhai factories have employed. How can she suggest something that will result in completely opposite effect.



Shanzhai and piracy are two different issues.
It is easy to kill ADIDSA, but it would be difficult to kill Shanzhai Spring Festival Gala.

好江山的人 Great country people:


Ni Ping, don't be worried, no one will Shanzhai you
How come you don't even understand the principle of let thousand flowers bloom.
You are too CCTV!

你很低俗 You are vulgar:


We have shanzhai western democracy, but western democracy has shanzhai our Zhou Dynasty republic. We have shanzhai western mobile phone, we have shanzhai's nuclear weapon, but we cannot shanzhai Spring Festival Gala.

春心曉夢 Spring morning dream:


Nowadays, the representatives can only made suggestions on rice and shit, no one dare to suggest measure against corruption. I wonder who are they representing?



In our history, the national army is regular army, while the community army are the “Shanzhai” army!

百萬夢想 million dreams:


Go ahead and block, let's not call it Shanzhai then, we can name it Nuzhai, Tianzhai, anything will do.

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