The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has suspended Super Girl, one of the most successful talent shows in China, for one year. They had been muttering for quite a while about it being “too vulgar” and “poison” for its 400 million viewers. You can draw your own conclusions from watching the Finals Promo:

The Chinese censors are particularly strict with programmes which they deem ‘Unhealthy”: earlier this year the censors banned TV dramas involving time travel. It is unclear whether Dr. Madsen Pirie’s science fiction books are equally banned from the Chinese market. In 2010 the SARFT introduced regulations on dating shows “to curb media hype of money worship [3]”.

There are one or two people around who think the plug was pulled because the censors and the Communist Party didn’t like that Super Girl’s 400 million viewers were able to vote democratically for their preferred winner.

The news of the suspension of the successful American-style reality show will be well received by the state broadcaster CCTV which beams out less “controversial” productions. For a while the Communist Party has also tried to revive Maoist revolutionary mass culture, which is quite different from the individualistic “Super Girl” (the programme’s full name is Mongolian Cow Sour Yoghurt Super Girl Contest – including the name of the sponsors).

In an act of contrition, Hunan Satellite Television has promised to show ”civic” programmes instead, such as information about housework, public safety, and the promotion of healthy morals. The young fans of Super Girl are already looking forward to it.

A government protecting the public against itself? Politicians who do not like democracy very much? Such a relief to know that we live in a free country where such things don’t happen. (Irony? - ed.)