If you’re looking for analysis on why China loved Jon Stewart’s digs at Kim Jong-un (above), head over to the Washington Post, where Max Fisher writes:
When the popular Chinese Web portal Sina posted an eight-minute segment from the show discussing the latest North Korean provocations, it racked up an astounding 2.8 million views and counting, as well as tens of thousands of comments, many of them praising the show. That appears to make it one of the most-watched “Daily Show” clips ever. It also raises questions about whether China’s flagging support for North Korea might reflect popular sentiment as well as Beijing’s own geopolitical calculus.
Otherwise, watch away first. We’ll wait. Here it is on Sina, for those of you whose Internet isn’t fast enough to stream Comedy Central:
The above, posted to Sina on April 4, is now at 3.3 million views. Jon Stewart and staff have noticed, and presented a follow-up (below) that has racked up nearly half a million views on Sina after less than a day. Here’s Fisher again explaining the show’s appeal to Chinese viewers:
Maybe it has to do with China’s restrictive media, which tend not to venture into the kind of cutting political satire that has made the show so popular at home. The population of young, urban, middle-class, Web-savvy Chinese is growing rapidly. They’re making the Chinese consumer market one of the world’s largest, snapping up luxury goods, watching foreign films and enrolling in prestigious American universities. It stands to reason that they’d also be interested in the sort of news coverage that so appeals to young, urban middle classes around the world. But they can’t get it from the Chinese media, so they have to go elsewhere.
Jon Stewart, in other words, seems to have stumbled upon one of the most underserved media markets in the world. He’s right: He, or someone, should be doing a China-focused “Daily Show.” Unfortunately, something as freely critical and openly mocking as “The Daily Show” is unlikely to get past China’s censors anytime soon.
Nor does it hurt that Stewart is funny, of course.
The latest clips. The cookie joke at the end is good.
It’s not just about the luxury and prestigious university markets that the Chinese consumers pervade, but it’s also about the real middle class of Chinese that are starting to see the real world – and China’s disconnect from it, with no thanks to The Party.
“It also raises questions about whether China’s flagging support for North Korea might reflect popular sentiment”
Is there any doubt about that? I don’t think I’ve met anybody in China who was under the impression North Korea is anything less than a liability.
I’m Chinese, so I had to look up what a “fortune cookie” is.
They’re apparently an American thing. I’ve never seen them in China.
A colleague of mine at China Radio International tried to get a Daily Show-esque show off the ground. I edited the pilot. In the end it wasn’t allowed to move forward because a senior manager was afraid that political humor coming directly from the government, in essence, could be offensive to foreigners. This is around the time when that anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims was released and created that shitstorm.
Had that same manager been in a better mood that day, perhaps that show would now exist. Or perhaps a more commercialized TV network in China may start that kind of show soon. The Post’s analysis doesn’t take into account people actually working in state media, and therefore can only rely on assumptions that aren’t completely accurate.
I’ve always said, the arm of censorship in China is directed more by capriciousness than an iron fist. I predict we will see the loosening of restrictions and the rise of these kinds of shows within the decade.
People who think Jon Stewart is “subversive” or a “threat to the status quo” are feeble-minded.
Chinese “soft power” will never escape its current shackles aping this kind of tripe
” I predict we will see the loosening of restrictions and the rise of these kinds of shows within the decade.”
You mean when it becomes several little countries or when they have a sense of humor surgically implanted up the asses of everyone involved in Chinese media?
Hopefully the latter.