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Promoting Harmony with Conflicts? A Study of Reality Television in China

This study focuses on the production and consumption of a mediation show in China that collaborates with the local Justice Bureau and broadcasts on an entertainment channel—exploring answers to questions raised from the mentioned entertainisation, social and political, and cultural issues.

Zheng Li
29 June 2016

Findings suggest that media are more independent economically, but not politically. The marketisation of the television industry and the broad political environment forces them to produce contents that must satisfy both the needs of the market and of the authorities. Mediation, in this study, turns out to be the key to pleasing both parties, used as a delicate combination of education, control, propaganda and entertainment. 

The show’s viewers obtain enjoyment from the dramatic storyline and at the same time they are aware of the ‘harmonious’ image the show aims to build. It does not seem difficult for the audience to deal with the cultural contention as they distinguish moral face from social face, and they enjoy the show as long as the ‘face’ issue does not concern themselves. The results also suggest that the political goal in an entertainment format is both acceptable and can be convincing to the audience as a source of useful information.

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