A new set of regulations will be launched in September to regulate the performance industry, including penalties for officials who use public funds to stage expensive performances, Wang Yongqing, deputy-director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, told Xinhua on Wednesday.
The new set of regulations is a revised version of the Regulations Governing Commercial Art Performances issued eight years ago, Wang said.
In July 2004, officials in Wanyuan City of west China's Sichuan Province were reportedly using public funds totaling 728,300 yuan (around US$ 88,065) to purchase performance tickets. "Such abuses are more common now as many local officials think they can achieve overnight prosperity with the help of artistic performances," Wang said.
Some insiders said a typically grand performance could cost tens of millions of yuan, making excellent media fodder. Officials and stars are photographed shaking hands, and the media allege that the performances are merely "to satisfy the official's 'star-gazing' desires."
According to Wang, Lin Lang, the top official in Wanyuan was punished recently after the real cost of a performance Lin organized was exposed to the public.
The revised regulations provide that governments at all levels are forbidden to sponsor or financially support any performance for profit, or to use public funds to purchase tickets.
To strengthen supervision over the performing arts market, the regulations also encourage local governments to invite volunteer supervisors, to set up informant hotlines, and to offer rewards to people willing to carry out surveillance work.
The regulations also cover cheating including lip synching, benefiting from charity performances, and other illegal performances.
"The performer or performing troupes who lip synch when they claim to be singing 'live' will have their licenses withdrawn, Wang said.
In addition, the regulations state that no company or individual is allowed to stage performances which run counter to the basic principles of China's Constitution, jeopardize national unity and security, sovereignty and territorial integrity or infringe upon national interests.
The regulations also state performances are not to stir up hatred or discrimination among the different ethic groups, encroach upon the customs and habits of ethnic minorities or hurt their feelings. Any performance involving pornography, cult activity, superstition or violence will also be banned.
(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2005)