• President Xi Jinping during the opening ceremony of a CPPCC meeting.

President Xi Jinping during the opening ceremony of a CPPCC meeting. (Photo : Reuters)

With "Wolf Totem" ready to appear in Chinese cinemas and China's censorship authorities receiving ongoing criticism for their interjections into the cultural lives of citizens, this week's apology from Hong Kong-based entertainer Eric Tsang Chi-wai should not merely be met with sighs of resignation.

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Not only is the potential of culture to influence the political landscape formidable, but the intellectual capacity of China's artists should not be the subject of careless dismissal.

Tsang explained in the apology that accompanied his resignation:

"As a delegate on both the Guangzhou and Jiangmen political consultative conferences, I could attend only the one in Guangzhou because the dates of the two annual assemblies clashed."

The comedian's public relations representative further explained that the Guangzhou event had been prioritized by Tsang, as the invitation for it would usually arrive first.

For anyone with an understanding of the schedules of performers like Tsang, they would know the intensive calendars that they are required to contend with on a constant basis. In addition to commitments, both personal and professional, celebrities who are artists must also practice their craft, which must occur in times of solitude that are away from the public eye.

However, the potential of people in entertainment and related industries to contribute to the political sphere should not be underestimated. We already know that many people in this area of life possess diverse interests, including academic pursuits--"Wolf Totem's" author is a retired professor--but the content of the work that is produced should alert Chinese society to the insight that creative people can possess.

As Western comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Wil Anderson have explained in interviews, it is their sharp ability to quickly interpret the human condition and everyday observations from a number of varied angles that form the basis of their popular talent.

But the potential is not restricted to artists, as people in fields like sport and business also possess beneficial knowledge and awareness.
While participation and commitment are critical to responsibilities like those of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and National People's Congress (NPC), the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" rings true here.