China has one of the largest audiences in the world at its disposal, and TV companies dream of tapping into that huge demographic. Unfortunately over the years, the Chinese government has enforced strict regulations of what is shown on terrestrial TV. It has been a closed door to foreign interest. But it looks like these stop guards are being relaxed somewhat and more foreign exports are making their way onto the TV screens of China. One particular format which is growingly popular is reality TV.
China were relative late comers on the Reality TV scene but now they are catching up with shows like If You Are The One, which featured Ma Nuo, a 22-year-old model from Beijing. The show is a dating programme not dissimilar to The Bachelor in the UK, only with a female protagonist. In one episode Ma Nuo rejected a suitor who offered her a romantic bike ride, and instead chose to go down the route of materialism. She could not love a poor man sadly, which many believe shows the attitude of the nouveau riche in China society since the 1980's boom years. She said: "I'd rather cry in a BMW car than laugh on the backseat of a bicycle,"
One blogger criticised this outlook saying: "The most controversial aspect of these programmes is the value contestants place on money worshipping and rich people. These opinions are so contrary to traditional values, like loving one's country and respecting one's elders ... But we can't do anything if these people just like ugly things."
And the State Television Agency in China have come down hard on dating shows for perpetuating this image of China and have brought out some new strict guidelines saying: "Incorrect social and love values such as money worship should not be presented in the shows". It also prohibited "morally provocative hosts and hostesses" and warned "be cautious before mouthing venturous remarks."