• Mon
  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 11:58pm
NewsChina
MEDIA

Guangdong TV news channel quietly changing from Cantonese to Putonghua

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 4:46pm

Most original programmes on the news channel of Guangdong TV will be produced and broadcast in Putonghua from September, sources inside the network said, a move that is causing outrage among Cantonese speakers in Guangzhou.

At least four Cantonese anchors had been replaced with Putonghua presenters on GDTV's news channel, the sources said.

The channel has endured lower ratings than its competitors in the city. While preparations are underway for programmes to switch from Cantonese to Putonghua, GDTV's hourly news bulletin has been presented in Putonghua since the end of last month. It was the first Cantonese programme at the channel to be replaced by a Putonghua version.

"This is being done quietly, without any official promotion or notification to audiences," said one source, who declined to be named for fear of retribution.

The broadcasting language in Guangdong has been a sensitive topic since the summer of 2010. That's when thousands of protesters took the streets on July 25 and August 1 to express their vocal support for the local dialect following reports of a plan to change television content to Putonghua from Cantonese for part of each day.

Industry sources outside the network said GDTV decided to switch to Putonghua without consulting the public.

The move has sparked an outcry online, with internet users questioning the motives of GDTV, but no official response has been made.

Zhang Xingdian, executive director of GDTV's news channel, declined to comment when contacted by the South China Morning Post yesterday.

Dr Jack Chan Wing-kit, an associate professor at Sun Yat-sen University's school of government, said the switch in broadcasting language was another symbolic move to marginalise Cantonese.

"This is worse than what happened in 2010 as that involved a proposal that was eventually withdrawn. But today we are talking about an actual implementation without notice," Chan said.

Watch: Keeping Cantonese alive in China's south with soccer and beer

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This article is now closed to comments

scmpgt
Only way for cantonese to survive is to split it away from mandarin influence such as in the forms of independence. But according to the CCP most cantonese people are very happy.
dunndavid
The policy to discourage Cantonese is likely to have an opposite effect. Here in Guangzhou I see most young people - probably 90% - speak mostly Cantonese. The government policy of slighting of Cantonese is well known. At some point the CCP will be known as the "former regime" and discouragement of Cantonese will be seen as a discredited policy. Exactly the same thing has happened in Taiwan. The previous KMT dictatorship very actively discouraged Hokkien-Taiwanese and now Hokkien-Taiwanese is about in the same position today as it was in the 1980s making the vast majority of Taiwanese bilingual. The next DPP government in Taiwan is likely to encourage Taiwanese even more, probably maintaining a linguistic status quo for many more years. This is probably the future for Guangdong also. Cantonese will be around a lot longer than the CCP.
lamlm38
yeah but most Taiwanese are very proficient in Mandarin where as HK folks' mandarin is atrocious even after 17 years!!!
Singapore gov did the right thing in discouraging the use of dialects on national TV.. if people are so kind in preserving individual dialects they can find other avenues :)
ejmciii
Of course the dialect to which you refer is their language and has been despite the CCP's desire to rid the nation of non-CCP supported matters. Who cares what the level of Mandarin in HK is? HK is, or was, an international city. BTW, the official languages in Singapore are English and Malay. It is a true international city.
mo yung
Well, one way to preserve and promote precious Asian languages, cultures, customs and civilizations would be to somehow and someday remove the self-serving, totalitarian CCP from power.
shouken
My native dialect, Suzhou-ese, is dying out. My two nieces can no longer carry on a conversation in it. Every regional language is losing out to a more central language in a nation-state, as every "national" language has to battle with menace imposed by English, which is the only and true lingua franca of today's world. Sinocization still rages on in China-occupied territories, whereas it in turn silently revolves around the other center, the United States, along with the rest of the world. Whether one would like to call it centralization, standardization, homogenization or assimilation, the fact remains that we are moving in one direction. I sympathize deeply with the fate of Cantonese, but the situation is difficult to fight.
zhelu1985@live.com
One nation speaking a common language?!
How horrible! I mean, what will they do next? Unify the writing system?!
If this keeps going we might be looking at the unthinkable situation of national cultural unity!
ejmciii
A cultural identity dictated by the dictators of the Communist Party of China. You would like that.
likingming
but that could reduce Transaction Costs !
Carparklee
If people really want to preserve Guangzhou hua or Cantonese, they have to treat the Romanization form of Guangzhou hua seriously. How serious is serious enough? Kindergarten kids should be taught with romanized Guangdong hua pinyin along with their pronunciation exercise, primary or secondary students should be able to type or input to computer via guang-pin etc. Well, sadly to say that it would be an extra burden to our children and education system. Take a look at Japan, we also see Kansai-Ben is losing the market to kando-ben as well since NHK is using Kando-ben as standard. Well, the only 'cheap' but effective way to maintain the vitality of a certain language is to hope that more popular cultural products: film, song based on a specific language could come out to the market. We should pray for having more Wong Jim, Lin Xi and Lau Wai Keung or Johny To in future.

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