Stars lose their twinkle for culture controllers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 June, 1994, 12:00am

BEIJING authorities recently banned all pop-star ''twinkle-card'' machines in the capital, saying that the machines had adverse social consequences, the semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency said yesterday.

Beijing's biggest operators of the machines were told by the municipality's cultural office and Public Security Bureau (PBS) to stop renting them and recall existing ones, the agency said.

A total of 250 coin-operated machines, which dispense shiny cards bearing pictures of Hong Kong and Taiwan pop stars, were imported from Guangdong last September and set up in 54 state and private-operated stores around Beijing.

Teenagers were attracted to the shops and the cards soon became a hit among this age group.

The cards were extremely popular even though the prominence of many pop stars was fading, the agency said.

Hoping to sustain the enthusiasm, some operators promised attractive prizes. One such prize was a seven-day trip to Hong Kong.

But vendors were quoted as saying some of the prizes were just gimmicks and had never existed.

Both the cultural office and the Public Security Bureau said the machines had a bad impact on society.

The report said that the craze for pop stars among China's teenagers showed their cultural life was dull and dry.