Chinese television and radio channels have been ordered to cut down on advertisements that encourage exchanging expensive gifts like luxury watches, rare stamps and gold coins as they promote “bad ethos.”
This is the latest instance of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) new dispensation’s efforts to curtail extravagance in spending and comes at a time when the several cases of high-level corruption have been exposed by whistleblowers on Chinese microblogging sites.
The country’s television regulator passed the new order saying that often such advertising publicises incorrect values.
“Ads on some channels have encouraged people to give gifts like luxury watches, rare stamps and gold coins, which has publicized incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos, according to a circular issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT),” state-run Xinhua reported.
The new order comes in the run-up to the Spring Festival programmes that are watched and listened to on radio by hundreds of millions across the country, giving an opportunity to companies to advertise their products.
It wasn’t immediately known whether companies hawking luxury brands had been given a prior notice about the cutting down.
The move is a response to the central authorities' repeated calls for people to practice thrift and shun extravagance and waste, said a spokesperson for the administration told Xinhua.
“As important cultural and ideological strongholds, radio and television channels should fully exert their role of educating the people, carrying forward good Chinese traditions and civilized lifestyles, and taking the lead to implement the requirements of central authorities,” the spokesman said.
The administration urged local TV watchdogs to regulate the airing of ads and give more exposure to public service advertising.
During a December 4 meeting of the top Chinese leadership, top CPC leaders laid down rules asking government officials to maintain a frugal and low-key lifestyle.
The decision also comes during repeated calls by the CPC general secretary, Xi Jinping – slated to take over as China’s President in March – to cut expenditure.
The government has already banned the serving of expensive alcohol – like locally made Chinese liquor – at state and army banquets.