BEIJING (CBS/AP) — China says its annual Lunar New Year gala TV show is all set to go international. Chinese government will even promote the gala on Bay Area-based social media sites normally blocked by the country.
This year’s show will be broadcast in several languages, including English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese and German, under agreements with 24 foreign media outlets, said Ma Runsheng, general manager of CHNPEC, the CCTV-owned agency which deals with its copyrights.
Ma said greatest hits from past shows — including the best moments of traditional Chinese opera — will be encapsulated to promote the gala on YouTube, Google Plus and Twitter, which are blocked in China.
After recent political turmoil and pro-democracy protests, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were banned in China. The block on western-based media has often been referred to as the “Great Firewall of China.” The Publicity Department of China issued orders for websites to take down any mention of the unrest, and search phrases that include words like “occupy” and “Hong Kong students.”
State broadcaster China Central Television says it’s making rights available to foreign broadcasters for the first time.
“Our purpose is to make our gala available to more overseas Chinese and overseas foreign viewers who love Chinese culture and want to learn about Chinese culture through this festive celebration,” Ma said at a news conference Monday.
This year’s theme is “Family Harmony Yields Success.”
CCTV touts its annual hours-long Spring Festival Gala as the world’s longest-running and most-watched variety show.
A staple of holiday celebrations since the 1980s, the evening show also has been widely criticized for its stilted staging and performances.
The gala is already broadcast live on multiple TV channels and on some Chinese websites. Last year, more than 700 million people watched the show live or a replay a week later on CCTV or other channels, and 110 million people watched it online, according to Zheng Weidong, deputy managing director of CSM Media Research, which pulls together ratings.
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