Net Nanny Follies

Shanzhai Gala videos blocked for improper content

"Your search results may involve content that violates relevant laws and regulations and have not been displayed"

Note: A more recent media interview with Shanzhai Gala participants is available here.

Things keep getting worse for the Shanzhai Spring Festival Gala, a grass-roots alternative to CCTV's annual TV extravaganza.

First, most of the TV stations and web portals it had partnered with to air the show pulled out, leaving only the little-watched Macao Asia Satellite TV to carry it. And it made the decision to switch from a live broadcast to a pre-recorded tape of a dress rehearsal.

Then, as it was being broadcast, the MASTV website was unreachable, cutting the show off from the vast audience of Internet users who have been the driving force behind the craze for shanzhai, or knock-off, culture.

But at least clips of the show are being passed around online, right? Not exactly. The Beijing News reports today that the Shanzhai Gala is nowhere to be found on major video hosts. In fact on Youku, the term 山寨春晚 has become a "sensitive word."

From the paper's report:

Lao Meng [Shi Mengqi 施孟奇], producer of the Shanzhai Gala, said that recording of the four-hour program had been completed on the evening of January 22, but they'd had difficulty uploading it.

Lao Meng said that he had found a friend with experience working with online video to help him upload the recording to a video website, but they were never successful.

"So long as the title had the words 'Shanzhai Gala,' it wouldn't upload," said Lao Meng. Even without the words, he said, the upload would only complete half-way before failing. He believes that the government blocked and banned the Shanzhai Gala because it deemed the content to be vulgar.

Yesterday, this reporter was unable to find any Shanzhai Gala videos on major video hosts like Tudou, Youku, and On Youku, searching for the four characters for Shanzhai Gala returns the following search result: "Your search results may involve content that violates relevant laws and regulations and have not been displayed." Currently, a web search for Shanzhai Gala videos returns only a ten-minute news report about the show.

Previously, Tencent and UUSee, which had arranged to carry the Shanzhai Gala, ended their partnership with the Gala and did not provide a live feed.

Ms. Dong, a Tencent employee, explained that the government was in the process of punishing websites that carried vulgar content, and while the Shanzhai Gala was not on the list, it was nevertheless not under their control. The website decided to halt its live broadcast agreement with the Gala.

Yesterday, a Youku employee said that the website was unable to display Shanzhai Gala videos because they may involve content that violates relevant laws and regulations.

Earlier, Wall Street Journal's China Journal blog quoted a Tencent employee who gave a different reason for dropping the Shanzhai Gala:

Chinese instant-messaging giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which offered to broadcast the show online, pulled out shortly before the broadcast, citing the increasing detail organizers put into the show. "They added more and more elements to the show and it gradually walked away from the original grassroots spirit," said Dong Xianhui, who manages Tencent’s news page. "The shanzhai gala people contacted us and wanted to keep the partnership, but we failed to reach an agreement."

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There are currently 5 Comments for Shanzhai Gala videos blocked for improper content.

Comments on Shanzhai Gala videos blocked for improper content

damn g-o-v ...
both galas suck, nevertheless Shanzhai Gala sucks less.

Knock-off Gala = publicity stunt

A "publicity stunt" to what end? It was a televised public performance, so of course they wanted exposure - that's how to get viewers. Or are you suggesting that Lao Meng did the whole thing to drum up publicity for his wedding photo business?

Stightly OT, but also second day I've not been able to get to the new Bullog service (linked in your "From the Web") without a proxy.

Bullog International was harmonized within 40 hours of opening. We've noted this in the post.

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