Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Materialistic China

A couple of weeks ago the New York Times published an article about the materialistic young in China, as exemplified by the behavior on dating shows. The poster child for Chinese materialism turned out to be a contestant on the popular show If You Are The One (非城勿扰), who was asked if she would like to go for a bicycle ride, she responded "I’d rather sit and cry in the back of a BMW" and be unhappy than be poor and happy. The authorities responded with heavy handed censorship:
Late last May, central government propaganda officials issued a directive calling the shows “vulgar” and faulting them for promoting materialism, openly discussing sexual matters and “making up false stories, thus hurting the credibility of the media.”

So the dating show, and others like it, got a makeover. Gone are fast cars, luxury apartments and boasts of flush bank accounts. Now the contestants entice each other with tales of civic service and promises of good relations with future mothers-in-law. One show now uses a professor from the local Communist Party school as a judge.
There was more to that story. It turned out that the "contestant" modeled lingerie. It appeared that there is a problem with many TV dating shows that the contestants were either fake and were either assoicated with the show in some way or models promoting themselves.

The very long-view on China: Beyond the materialism
Rather than going tut-tut or about the rise of consumerism and materialism in China or commenting on the effects of rising affluence, it is instructive to think about this as an unwanted effect of the one-child policy, which I posted before here. It is further instructive to think about the demographics effect of China's aging population and think about the very very long-veiw on China, which is the subject of an article that I recently wrote about here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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