Friday, January 22, 2010

China's 21st Starlight Awards

The Starlight Awards (星光奖), a biennial television awards ceremony, was held in the central Chinese city of Zhenzhou on January 19. China Radio International has labeled the Starlight Awards "China's Emmys", presumably because like the Emmys they hand out awards to TV shows. However, that's where the similarities end; unlike the Emmys there are no prizes for individual performers. The Starlight winners are also selected on what appears to be a compulsory criterion for Chinese awards, "ideological depth".

As a result the winners list is a highbrow selection of politically correct shows with titles like Welcome to the Motherland (向祖国报告), Six Centuries of Kunqi Opera (昆曲六百年), 2008 Chinese Migrant Workers Evening (2008中国农民工之夜), Xinjiang - Embrace of the Motherland (在祖国的怀抱里), Hundreds of Millions of Peasant Farmers' Laughter (亿万农民的笑声), and The Tibetan People Celebrate the Olympic Games (西藏人民喜迎奥运会). If nothing else, the awards do provide an accurate snapshot of mainland Chinese television. Surely no other nation inflicts its audiences with so many documentaries and variety shows designed to uplift and educate.

The Grand Prize, which China Radio International describes as "the highest honour in television programming given by the Chinese government", was given to The Devotion of Love (爱的奉献). This was an all-star fundraising gala held for the victims of the devastating Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. The CRI article, in English, is here but to get a list of winners you'll need to visit this site.

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