• Nie Chenxi has been appointed president of China Central Television, whose headquarters are seen here.

Nie Chenxi has been appointed president of China Central Television, whose headquarters are seen here. (Photo : Reuters)

The Foreign Policy's Yiqin Fu might be pleased that the Ecns.cn Web editor emerged with an equally damning assessment of China Central Television's (CCTV) Spring Festival Gala event, asking the Chinese people to reassess its claim to being civilized and calling upon the authorities to engage in a period of "soul-searching."

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The forthright words of Wang Fan make no attempt at ambiguity, as the editor draws upon international conventions and prominent binding legal agreements as structural support for the central point of the op-ed.

For Yiqin, the matter was also clear, as the "Tea Leaf Nation" contributor went so far as to label the televised event "spectacularly misogynistic" in the headline of his Feb. 20 piece. To cast aside any risk of doubt, the FP writer then proceeded to dissect particular aspects of the four-and-a-half-hour spectacle in the manner of a legal professional, using terms such as "Exhibit A." While the Ecns editor is not as thorough, specific, quoted examples from the show are mentioned, while letters of complaint form the main body of the editorial.

The 25 letters that were received from outraged and disconcerted Chinese nationals warrant further focus. Many readers will already know that China is the world's second most populous nation, but other statistical facts that are lesser known are that the travel activities of the Spring Festival this year represented the largest holiday migration in recorded history, while the CCTV Gala, with around 690 million viewers, was the planet's most-watched television show--again--in recorded history.

If our mathematical deduction is correct, 25 of the estimated viewing tally is equivalent to 0.000004 percent of the Gala's total audience. While in numerical terms, the significance of the voices of complaint is feeble, the extent that they should be taken seriously should also be placed under question.

To refer to another FP "Tea Leaf" writer, "the Gala is not meant for clear-eyed analytical viewing." In one editorial swoop, Rachel Lu brings criticism from both the media and the minute amount from China's population, and reassures everyone that everything is going to be okay.

Lu does not present a delusional account of an artistic masterpiece, but also reminds the world that the Gala is not for any national gallery, but rather is enjoyed as a background distraction that serves as "rich fodder for water cooler conversation" afterward.