The Airing of V for Vendetta on Chinese State Television The Chinese state-run movie channel CCTV 6 recently surprised people by airing the anarchist-themed film V for Vendetta. People did not understand why the already banned movie which could easily bring discomfort to the Chinese political environment was broadcasted on CCTV-6, China Central Television’s movie channel…
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Now with the media event in China, the movie has become bone of contention among the common Chinese people and Beijing elite groups alike, and it is likely to cause notable impacts on the Chinese media and population as a whole. The Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman starred film is set in a fictional English community, and exposes a daring, charming freedom fighter known as ‘V’ (Vigilante), who initiates a revolution against a futuristic authoritarian regime. The James McTeigue directed movie is based on the 1982 comic book V for Vendetta written by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It depicts a futuristic situation in Britain where V has to use radical tactics to fight the oppressive fascist state to regain the state’s freedom. Another main character of the story is Evey, a young woman who is rescued by V from a crucial life-and death condition. As the story progresses, she also identifies her role in the mission carried out by V and voluntarily joins him. V wears the mask of Guy Fawkes and invites all the people to join him to blow up the parliament and thereby regain freedom and justice. Although V’s activities are genuine and reasonable, the corrupt Chancellor deems them as acts of terrorism. The movie begins reminding the event when Guy Fawkes plotted to destroy the parliament and the king in order to regain catholic sovereignty in England. The movie really intends to criticise the traditional tactics (fear and the voice of God) used by the government to create a feeling that the wrath of God will soon avenge who went against the regime. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter). In this context, the airing of the movie V for Vendetta raises numerous questions with regard to the Chinese censorship laws and entertainment policies. The Chinese government has been very much concerned about preserving its political authority and hence maintained a tight rein on traditional and new media so as to prevent any potential threats from their part. The government has very often entailed strict media controls which involved but not limited to using monitoring systems, shutting down publications or websites, jailing etc. As Bennet (2013) points out, China's censorship of its media has been getting attention recently when Southern Weekly, a liberal-leaning paper based in Guangzhou, staged an extensive confrontation with the government. Google's battle with the Chinese government over Internet censorship in China is another example. However, as many thinkers believe, the airing of the controversial film indicates China’s attempt to balance its media controlling power with the growing need for information. In other words, it seems that China is badly in need of press freedom while at the same time worried about the impacts the liberalisation would bring upon the economy. The airing of the V for Vendetta would be counted as a remarkable event in the history of Chinese media. The event got wide media coverage and multiple responses around the globe. As The Guardian reported dated 20th December 2012, ‘after the telecast, China's internet crackled with quotes of a famous catchline from the movie: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"’. The reports indicate that people at the helm of affairs were not very much ...
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