Chinese Lantern Festival represents the end of the Spring Festival for Chinese New Year season, adults already get back to work, while children are ready for schools.
During this period of time, there is always one thing attract a lot of attentions which is the Chinese New Year’s Eve Gala produced by Central China Television Station (CCTV). From the must and most people watched TV show back to 1980s, to being complained and made jokes of in recent years. This long time running, once a year show enjoyed totally different reputations in the past and nowadays.
While regarding the Western media, Chinese seems to maintain a consistent attitude, especially when we talking about the documentary, ever since there is a documentary about China, an amount of Chinese will hold the attitude that it either judging or critical, no third choice.
This year, one documentary stood out during the Chinese New Year time which produced by BBC Two in 2016 called ‘Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth’. Not surprisingly, quite a number of Chinese left the comments said they thought this might be another ‘typical’ BBC documentary before they watched it; whereas, they admitted that this documentary is nothing about criticism, but reawaken a lot of people’s memories about the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year.
What a once in a blue moon! It seems uncommon for BBC not judging China in their documentary. To be honest, I was one of those Chinese who have this kind of thought, until I watched the documentary made by BBC’s former journalist Felix Greene called ‘China! (1965)’ about a year ago.
‘China! (1965)’ was shoot in the year of 1963, which during the so-called ‘Cold War’ period of time, the tensions between China and Western world was far more serious than today. However, this documentary recorded normal Chinese’s daily life just writing a diary, no appraising about the political system at all. (Click here for the review of this documentary in Chinese)
You might argue that China’s government was on the set and only allow the Felix Greene to shoot what they want. Whereas, he can definitely turn the final work to another way, just like what Vitaly Mansky did for his work ‘Under the Sun’ which the documentary about North Korea.
Obviously, since it established back to 1922, BBC created a lot of controversial documentaries about China, talking about the sensitive topics, like human rights, religious issues and so on. However, at the same time, BBC also produced documentaries, like ‘China! (1965)’, ‘Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth’ and ‘Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School’.
Though the number of those non-political related and non-judgment documentaries is a handful, at least, it exists. People are able to reach them and make their own choice to watch it or not. However, why Chinese seems always hold the idea that western media have hostility with China? Once there are some positive views about China from Western media, Chinese will take that for unusual.
Is Chinese too sensitive? Honestly, I think those Chinese just lacking confidence, they do not believe that western media will make a commendation of them, even those things that they were proud of.
Nevertheless, I do not think western media will make more positive documentaries about China in order to delight Chinese, what I can guarantee is they will continue to judge and criticise China in various ways.
Fundamentally, western media doesn’t challenge China just for fun or no reason, freedom of press allows them to report things in different angles, or more specifically, in their own understanding. Grow up in the different environment and educated in unlike ways, things in one’s eyes make sense might do not work in the others, this theory works both in western and China.
At the same time, I will not say hostility does not exist at all, all the media have their own stands, as an audience, what we need to do is to build your own stands, it might not easy, but will be necessary.