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Official Hits Out at Chinese TV Culture of Overnight Stardom
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An official with China's Ministry of Education has called for more television shows depicting positive role models to counterbalance the wave of reality programs on Chinese screens.

Wang Xuming, the ministry's spokesman, said the flood of reality shows has resulted in increasing numbers of Chinese children dreaming of overnight success in show business.

"Stardom should not be the only dream of our children," Wang told the China Youth Daily newspaper.

He was speaking in response to complaints that during winter vacation, most school children had no other programs to watch but reality shows.

"My child discusses the shows with her friends everyday, and she wishes to become one of them, to become famous overnight", the paper quoted an anonymous parent as saying.

The number of reality shows mushroomed in the aftermath of Hunan TV's successful "Super Voice Girls", which attracted millions of viewers. It is estimated that more than 500 such programs are now on Chinese television.

"These shows overwhelm good programmes on more ordinary vocations, making them seem trivial to the young people," said Wang.

Wang cited the popular "Inspiring China" reality show on Central Television, saying the star selection process hindered the young contestants' development as it lasted a whole year.

"As an educator and parent, I feel powerless against the media, " he said.

More programs should depict the country's scientists and education workers to benefit the healthy development of young people, said Wang.

"Mere entertainment cannot make a stronger China," said Wand. "We need to maintain a pure and lofty environment for the next generation."

(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2007)

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