Delegates fret over cultural advances

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 12:00am


Some Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates say they are worried that the mainland's efforts to develop the cultural sector into a pillar industry might turn into another 'great leap forward' or 'moneymaker movement'.

CPPCC Standing Committee member Feng Jicai said reckless investment in culture would only result in 'artificial, large and shallow' industrial parks without any concrete contents, wasting a great deal of money.

'We could realise a 'leap forward' phenomenon where people flock to cultural industry from everywhere,' he told a press conference in Beijing. 'It's all about officials' achievements.

'The biggest issue in the cultural industry is the lack of creativity. Many things are shallow, and only serve as moneymakers.'

The goal of boosting culture was emphasised at the sixth plenary session of the 17th Communist Party Central Committee in October, with the party vowing to promote 'advanced socialist culture' to ensure its continued rule.

The central government also sees the cultural industry as a way to boost the economy in a green, low-cost way.

The authorities hope to turn it into a pillar industry by the end of the 12th five-year plan in 2015, accounting for 5 per cent of gross domestic product growth.

CPPCC deputy secretary general Wang Shenghong said National People's Congress and CPPCC members had raised a number of proposals on ways to boost culture.

Feng argued that a real cultural power could nourish classics that reflected current issues, but just focus on profits. Not many television soap operas or movies cared about people's souls or destinies, he said.

'A nation that is only in pursuit of money has no hope,' he said.

Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, a CPPCC delegate, said creativity could be driven by private companies that were innovative and courageous.

'The state mostly subsidises state-owned enterprises, while private cultural companies are unlikely to receive support,' he said.

He added that private companies were not treated fairly in terms of policy, with 'only two state-owned enterprises allowed to import foreign movies'.

Feng has also called for a mechanism to evaluate officials' cultural accomplishments and views before they were promoted.