Ying Zhu, professor of Chinese Media and Society,  publishes “China’s Spring Festival Gala: Political Theater Made to Party Orders,” on the ChinaRealTime blog of the Wall Street Journal.

EXCERPT: China Central Television’s Spring Festival gala, an annual TV extravaganza that claims higher viewership than the NFL’s Super Bowl, did not begin as the unabashed political theater that was on display during this past Lunar New Year’s eve. When the show first aired in 1983, it was an evening of rather apolitical entertainment built around the notion of “family reunion” – a refreshing and popular departure from the preceding decades of brutal political campaigns that had left lives in tatters and society exhausted.

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