Art and literature awards to evaluate 'social benefit' of works

The Ministry of Culture is reforming the evaluation criteria for art and literature awards in a response to President Xi Jinping’s landmark speech on arts and culture. The ministry will also measure how popular art and literature is.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 October, 2014, 2:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 October, 2014, 7:52pm

The Ministry of Culture said it is reforming the evaluation criteria for art and literature awards to assess works’ “social benefits” in a response to President Xi Jinping’s landmark speech on arts and culture last week.

The ministry will also measure how popular art and literature is, Zhu Di, head of the art department of the ministry, said yesterday, Xinhua reported.

In an unusual move, Xi chaired a cultural symposium last Wednesday and told the country’s leading writers and artists that their works “should not fall slave to money” but offer “spiritual guidance to reinforce people’s moral judgement and sense of honour”.

Analysts said the Xi’s speech reflects the leadership’s intention to tighten censorship on art and litreature and increase control on ideology.

Zhu said Xi’s comments on arts and literature – that works should place social benefits first, should not bow to commercial demands and should be evaluated by the public – will become “important principals for the ministry’s award evaluation system reform in the future”.

The central propaganda department of the Communist Party is taking the lead in reforming guidelines, Zhu said.

He added art and literature on the mainland is facing widespread problems, such as the lack of quality, plagiarism and factory-style production.

Zhu said the Ministry of Culture will now develop a set of criteria for the evaluation for arts and literature according to the demands of Xi and party.

The guidelines will focus on social benefits, artistic standards, aesthetic taste and popular acclaim instead of solely relying on commercial success, critical acclaim and online popularity.

Meanwhile, plans for a new art review system will be introduced by the ministry next year and art critics will be trained.