• Sky lanterns for the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival.

Sky lanterns for the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival. (Photo : Reuters)

While the "Empress of China" has been a popular feast for the eyes, the series' audience numbers pale next to the 800 million Chinese viewers who will tune into the annual Spring Festival Gala television spectacle on the evening of Feb. 18.

So, the outrage that emerged after China's censors deemed the cleavage shots of the former to be in breach of what constitutes decency will be barely heard if the same netizens feel upset by the guidelines governing the gala.

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While the arrest and conviction of numerous celebrities, including the son of global superstar Jackie Chan, remain fresh in the nation's collective memory, the government's insistence that the gala's producers highlight disdain toward corruption, without exception, should be welcomed by viewers. Furthermore, the director of this year's gala said that only "pleasant and attractive" performances will be selected for this year's event.

Director Ha Wen dismissed the possibility that vulgar or disreputable acts will be broadcast into the homes of millions of Chinese this year. Ha's statement formed part of her assertive delivery of the high moral stance that Beijing is taking during the country's transition into the Year of the Ram.

According to the Global Times, the director has been subject to criticism by individuals who see her comments as a threat to the quality of the gala, but they should instead be understood as the insight of a professional experienced in matters concerning the media industry.

Ha is clearly aware of the power that the media yields and, by conveying an unquestionable and impenetrable moral stance through the Spring Festival Gala--the most-viewed program during the celebratory period--China Central Television (CCTV) is sending a potent message that will stay with audience members over the forthcoming year.

Gala performer Miao Fu reaffirmed the commitment of CCTV on Monday when she told reporters that "the reviewing panel told us not to avoid facts about corruption," and the people of China should be grateful that the authorities actually care.