Screenshot of the nightly news cast on China Central Television in April 2022.
At a symposium for television and radio anchors and program hosts held yesterday in Beijing, officials from the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), a ministry-level executive agency under the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department that oversees television and radio in China, emphasized the need for “loyalty to the party” (忠诚于党) above all other values.
The official readout from the meeting, for which the keynote address was delivered by Nie Chenxi (聂辰席), a vice minister of the Central Propaganda Department and deputy head of the NRTA, was a dense thicket of official CCP terminologies signaling Party dominance of information and public opinion. “The [Party’s] corps of announcers and hosts is an important force in the Party’s work on propaganda, ideology and culture, assuming the important responsibility of adhering to the correct [public opinion] guidance, spreading advanced culture and leading civilization,” the readout said.
Program hosts and anchors must “strengthen their political character” (强化政治素养), “steadily raising their political discriminatory powers”(不断提高政治判断力), and they must “maintain the correct political orientation at all times”(时刻把牢正确的政治方向), said the readout.
Hosts on state-run television and radio programs, being closely associated with the Party’s “mainstream” image, have generally been held to high standards of political and personal discipline. In rare cases, however, they have breached this compact through personal conduct or political outspokenness. Prominent examples include the 2014 arrest of the “rock star” CCTV host Rui Chenggang, and the 2015 scandal surrounding CCTV host Wang Yinqi, who was caught wearing an expensive watch during a broadcast. Last month popular TV host Jin Xing became the source of controversy as she made a post to Weibo criticizing Russia for invading Ukraine. In response, CCTV responded publicly that it is “guided by Party spirit,” or dangxing (党性).