Production and politics in Chinese television

Wenna Zeng*, Colin Sparks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Political pressure and censorship are unavoidable conditions for producing an entertainment show in Chinese TV. The relationships between a production team and the government are, however, extremely complex. Based on participant observation in a TV channel and in-depth interviews with related television professionals, this article analyses the tensions between production and politics in Chinese television. The article argues that a centralized and top-down model fails to capture all the aspects of power relations in television production. A more productive starting point is that television production necessarily involves negotiation between different participants. This article analyses relations between the production team, the central broadcasting authorities and local governments. The production team in this case study utilized different strategies to negotiate with multiple levels of government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-69
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • ideological control
  • negotiated power
  • negotiation strategy
  • production studies
  • television format


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