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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Govt orders limits on Cantonese in media

By Guo Kai  (Global Times)

10:52, December 19, 2011

A new order from the Guangdong provincial government will make using Cantonese on radio and TV shows more difficult.

Starting next March, broadcasters must use Putonghua in their programs, as well as online audio and video, according to the order released by the Guangdong government on Friday.

The use of more of the dialect in these programs should get approval from the overseeing State Council and the local government. Approved programs in the dialect must add captions at the bottom of the screen. As well, some special-localized arts, operas and films will be allowed to use Cantonese.

"It's kind of limiting to use Cantonese," Cai Jingyin, a reporter from a Guangzhou TV station, who uses the dialect to report local business, said. "The Putonghua channels will occupy a large portion of the local market, if the order works."

According to Cai, the new regulations have many people concerned.

"Lots of elders do not know Putonghua, and even though some can read the captions on TV, it is still hard," Cai argued. She said it makes sense for local stations focusing on local audiences to use the dialect.

She pointed out there are already Putonghua channels in the province for those who wish to view them. But Cai also said there is only one Putonghua channel at her station, and six or seven Cantonese channels.

Li Qiu, a staff member at the Guangdong TV station echoed Cai. "Local TV stations always targets local audiences. Using varying dialects helps them get close to regional lifestyles. Some aren't well educated and would not understand Putonghua.

"Satellite TV channels use Putonghua and local channels use dialects, like Zhujiang TV," Li told the Global Times yesterday.

Cai said it could be difficult to get all programs approved to be broadcast in the dialect because there are so many.

"Promoting Putonghua in Guangdong is not a problem, but it might take many years to get some results," said Li.

The announcement comes just over a year after the government proposed switching prime-time programming on Guangdong TV's main channels from Cantonese to Putonghua.

The proposal was later postponed when it triggered a series of mass demonstrations by furious Cantonese speakers.

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Leave your comment7 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2011-12-20119.167.225.*
"no one respect the weak Han Mandarin culture, or the coastal Han culture, the West hates you Han Mandarins and wish you all die,..."Speak for yourself; you"re trying to drive a wedge between the so-called Han and the Cantonese, and both a Chinese! Whatever your hidden agenda, "putonghua " is the official language of China, and that should take precedent over dialects!
Poun at 2011-12-2068.68.105.*
To Pd User, I am no Chinese, i am just speaking from a neutral perspective, no one respect the weak Han Mandarin culture, or the coastal Han culture, the West hates you Han Mandarins and wish you all die, because honestly the way Han mandarin looks and acts and think remind us all of a little petulant child. you know like the little kid that tries to bark at you? The Cantonese people have brought plenty of respect and curiosity of Western people to Chinese culture in the past, to us it makes the Chinese seems like tough mature and charismatic people but the more i learn about China the more i realized how diverse and different China can be and that Cantonese are not representative of the Chinese people as a whole, just like the Manchu"s, mongol and other minorities, it"s a sad thing that the Han Mandarins today are trying to destroy such a great culture that brought us the best of China. Today no one and i mean no one respect China and it"s people, they not only look like little kids, fat faced weak features, they act like little kids as well, you people are not all that, that"s why you got conquered by the mongols and Manchus.
PD User at 2011-12-2060.49.122.*
>a verbal war over Cantonese vs Hans, <Tell me I"m not a Han and I"ll slap you in the face. We always call ourselves "Hon yan" or Han people and sometimes "Tong yan" or Tang people. Don"t let the CIA or their proxies tell their usual lies. They shall not divide the Chinese people and neither would the scumbags that infiltrated our media. I hold the People"s Daily responsible for allowing such fabrications to appear.
amh at 2011-12-20165.123.239.*
i have no idea what poun is talking about with cantonese being a different ethnic group. cantonese are han too, although it is true northern han and southern han look different, the southern han, of which cantonese are a part are generally rounder softer features whereas the northerners have sharper features like koreans. other than this, as a cantonese speaker, i definitely agree this is bad for cantonese culture and definitely should not be implemented. diversity is a good thing for china.
PD User at 2011-12-20119.167.225.*
"Isn"t this considered cultural genocide?" No, it isn"t! You"re building a mountain out of a mole hill to promote your cause! Cantonese would never be wiped out; "As well, some special-localized arts, operas and films will be allowed to use Cantonese."And let"s not start a verbal war over Cantonese vs Hans, even if you think Cantonese look more beautiful; we are all Chinese, no matter which dialectical group we belong to."Putonghua" is definitely the logical way forward! No apologies needed for promoting the official language!

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