The production, consumption, and state control of Chinese TV serial drama can be seen as an instrument of power and profit maximization as well as a medium for mass education and homogenization in the form of popular culture. The serial drama Woju 蜗居 (Dwelling narrowness) (2009) exemplifies the ways in which a prime-time TV serial in twenty-first-century China is a politically, socially, and commercially significant enterprise. Since the 1980s, prime-time serials have emerged as a distinctly successful medium with and through which the Chinese party-state exercises ideological control by entertainment rather than oppression. Indeed, not only did Woju enjoy huge audience popularity, it also benefited from considerable tolerance of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), which, according to the website Danwai, allowed the drama to “slip” through its guidelines.

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