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Chinese authorities have begun crackdown on domestic cultural troupes that perform at famous centres abroad by abusing government funds and using the opportunity to make a publicity splash.
These performances are often held under “cultural exchanges” category but on many occasions, the troupes have been found to have dubious artistic merit, state media reported.
“Rather than attempting to draw crowds and profits, they rent venues at their own expense and give away tickets for free or even pay the audience to attend. They will then advertise using slogans like “as staged in Vienna and declare themselves famous,” a report in the official news agency Xinhua said.
Quoting a statement from the ministry of culture, the report said in China theater companies that have toured abroad are seen as elite, and some companies have used government funds to organise such events.
“The practice not only wastes human resources and money, but tarnishes the ‘artistic dignity’ of the country,” the ministry said in the statement.
The practice goes against the ethics of the Communist Party of China (CPC), authorities said, indicating that the crackdown was part of President Xi Jinping’s campaign to cut down on official extravagance and misuse of official funds.
The ministry has issued instructions that officials posted abroad should not participate in or support such events.
Quoting the People’s Daily newspaper, the Wall Street Journal said that between January and August last year, around 133 Chinese groups performed at Vienna’s prestigious Musikverein hall. If the ministry of culture has its way, the number is likely to go down.