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Harmony, Olympic Manners and Morals—Chinese Television and the 'New Propaganda' of Public Service Advertising

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Over the past three decades, Chinese media have moved away from the tight controls under which they were kept since 1949. This forced those responsible for popular education to reconsider how their messages can be presented best to the public. Written propaganda, as published in newspapers, reached less and less people and was seen as boring and ineffective; the propaganda posters of the past could not compete with the many moving images and the glossy commercial messages that entered China. Television was seen as the most effective medium to present a modernized type of propaganda. As a result, the Party became a producer of 'public service advertising' (PSA, gongyi guanggao). Commercial advertising has inspired contents and forms of these PSA in major ways. Despite their important function in the wider framework of thought work, the production of PSA is hampered by three partially interrelated problems: financing, production and broadcasting. In the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the number and intensity of PSA increased.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University/University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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