February 26 – March 4, 2007

February 27 — In a move that should be felt strongly by the likes of Hunan TV’s “Super Girl”, the originator of mainland television shows styled after the popular U.S. competition show American Idol, and Shanghai Media Group’s “Good Man”, China’s top broadcast regulator announced a new regulation requiring all domestic TV networks with national satellite coverage to limit the duration of “competition shows” (选秀节目) to just two and a half months. [Coverage from CMP].

February 28 — Following on the heels of yesterday’s curbs on popular TV “competition shows”, China’s top broadcast regulator took aim at the growing trend of domestic TV stations poaching Hong Kong television talent, according to domestic Chinese media. Officials have since denied media reports of curbs on hiring of Hong Kong TV hosts. [Coverage from CMP].

February 28 — Fielding questions from Chinese reporters at a news conference, the mayor of Chongqing Municipality said Lan Qinghua (蓝庆华), the county official responsible for illegally jailing the author of a critical mobile phone message back in September 2006, had recently been offered a new post because he had “work ability”. The news, reported in The Beijing News, angered Chinese Web users. After a simple announcement from Chongqing Morning Post on February 17 that Lan Qinghua, the former party secretary of Chongqing’s Pengshui County, had been appointed vice director of Chongqing’s statistical bureau, The Beijing News and Southern Metropolis Daily reported the story with bold headlines: “‘Law-violating Party Secretary’ in ‘Pengshui Poetry Case’, Lan Qinghua, Takes Up New Appointment”. [Coverage from CMP].

February 28 — The “news extortion” case of Meng Huaihu (孟怀虎), former Zhejiang bureau chief for China Commercial Times, was heard on appeal in a Zhejiang court as prosecutors insisted the first instance court was wrong in finding the defendant guilty solely of “extortion”, and the defendant argued his sentence was unduly harsh, according to China News Service. Key to deliberations was the question of whether Meng, as an employee for state-owned media, should be dealt with as a government worker or an ordinary citizen. [Coverage from CMP].

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