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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 17, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta 22 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, February 17, 1975 Less than 3 hours of programming a night will give you plenty of time for other things Want to flee from the enslavement of TV? Go to China! By JOHN BURNS Special to The Herald PEKING Enslaved by television? Then how about a rest cure in China, where the idiot box offers less than three hours of programming a night, in black and white only, and never, never slips into the mindlessness of fun and enter- tainment for their own sake? Consider: Half an hour of news, mostly voice over stuff of Chinese leaders greeting foreign dignitaries, perhaps another 30 minutes of careful- ly scripted political "debate" among young zealots vying with one another in their enthusiasm for the party, then a revolutionary opera, ballet or film, often one that has been shown dozens of times before. Not, you might think, the kind of fare to rivet the view- ing audience to their seats, and yet well, there's the old .saying about the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind, and there aren't many other recreational distrac- tions competing for the viewer's time.- In point of fact, there are less than sets in.the whole country, one for every people, so the quality of programming is something that concerns only a tiny minority, and it is not exactly their fashion to go calling the local station demanding less Mao thought and more soap operas. Underused Still, the viewers one sees room boys in hotels, prin- cipally, for that is about the only place a foreigner is allowed where a television set is to be found seem to find something worth watching. They sit there, white jackets in the dark, taking in YAMAHA ORGANS I New and Used COLLEGE MALL Phone 326-3694 everything on the screen, and only very, very occassionally snoozing. It is odd, really, in a country where propaganda has been developed to a degree that runs beyond Karl Marx's fondest dreams, to find the most effective of all the instruments of thought control so under utilized. It's more than 16 years since regular programming began, yet it's still back, in terms of techni- ques and viewing audience, where television in North America was in the early 1950s. The relative backwardness of it all certainly owes nothing to a lack of understanding of television's potential, for as early as 1960 one of the top men in the broadcasting ad- ministration went on the as saying that "in the field of propaganda, television has far greater advantages than other Two problems .What, then, is the problem? Twofold, probably the state's insistence on "self reliance" in industry, mean- ing that the sets and much of the studio equipment must be manufactured in China; and related to this the high costs, reflected in the price tag of a made in Shanghai, black and white, 12 inch screen receiver. Visitors to the Peking sta- tion in recent times have been told that the party attaches the highest importance to the development of the medium. But irony of ironies, what this seems to mean, in terms of current priorities, is that all efforts are being bent to the development of color tran- smissions. What need of color, when even the senior broadcasting officials concede that there are "vast areas" of the country beyond the reach of black and white tran- smissions, and access to a set, even in the urban areas of the country, is still about as rare, say, as central heating? Well, it seems the answer MAO TSE-TUNG AND HENRY KISSINGER AS SEEN ON CHINESE TELEVISION comes down to prestige: "It has become quite common in the world to have color television, so we are doing our best to catch This best, to date, consists of two years of intermittent experiments with color transmissions in using a mixture of home made and imported equipment, with results that have so far deterred the an- nouncement of a start up date for regular program- ming. Another, gauge of the impor- tance of television to the party broadcasting in general, ac- tually is that it comes under the direct control of the Central Committee, receiving the special attentions of none other than Madame Mao, Chiang Ching, who has become, since the Cultural Revolution, a sort of grand ar- biter of all things cultural. This arrangement, which broadcasting has in common with The People's Daily, the New China News Agency and other central propaganda commission OF INQUIRY INTO BEEF lYMRKETING This Commission of Inquiry, authorized by Order-in-Council. P.C. 1975-1 dated January 6, 1975 has opened its offices at Suite 410. 140 Wellington Street, Ottawa K1P5A2, Telephone: TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMISSION a) to examine the organization and methods of operation of the marketing system for all grades of beef and veal including all live cattle, calves and carcass beef and veal sold within Canada whether imported or domestically produced taking into (i) each stepjn the distribution and processing system; and (ii) any geographical differences in the marketing system; b) to examine the price setting mechanisms for all beef and veal sold in Canada, including the nature and extent of the price spreads wliith exist atnong the various elements of the marketing'system; _ c) to examine the number of intermediaries in the system and the nature of the services they render; d) to report on the overall effectiveness of the marketing system including both the reasonableness of the costs incurred and of the price spreads which occur at each level and over the entire system; e) to submit to the government as soon as possible such recommendations as it may deem fit for improving the marketing of beef and veal in Canada. The Commission will hold public hearings in several locations across Canada, the details of which will be confirmed-in a later announcement. All individuals and associations involved or interested in the marketing of live cattle, calves, beef and veal in Canada, who would like to submit briefs on the subjects described in the above terms of reference, are invited immediately to contact Gerald W. Doucet, Executive Secretary of the Commission, for further information on the procedures to be followed. Commissioners: Lydia Palry-Cullcn Maxwell W. Mackenzie Chairman Hu Harries organs, means that there is no attempt to maintain the form of popular control; unlike most other organizations in the country, the propaganda agencies have no revolutionary committee, a management body that groups together workers, party of- ficials and soldiers. The party line on television, emphasizing its propaganda value, was in abeyance during the Cultural Revolution, when planned expansion of the network was curtailed and the stations already in operation suspended service, it being judged that the medium was "not necessary" for a time. More stations Operations resumed in J968, and the 27 stations that had been in operation around the country in 1960 were soon join- ed by another 20, serving between them all 29 provinces, autonomous regions and cities except Tibet, the latter apparently being too remote and moun- tainous to be accessible to the microwave and cable relays from Peking that feed most of the programming provincial stations. Together with the expansion of the network, there has been attenuation slight, mind you in the political stridency of the program- ming. Until the end of 1971, the nightly sign on consisted of a chorus of 'The East is Red' and the screening of a portrait of Mao. That was abandoned in favor of a reading from the Chairman's but even that has been scrubbed now. A typical evening these days begins with a 60 minute test pattern, the last 15 minutes enlivened by revolutionary music. Precisely at 7 p.m. the station signs on for the night with a chorus of Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helm- sman, Making Revolution Depends on Mao Tsc tung Thought, followed by an off screen announcer reading the evenings's program. Wooden news China being what it is, the bulk of the news of any given evening will be the television equivalent of the court cir- cular that still appears on the social pages of some British newspapers reports of ceremonial meetings between Chinese leaders and visiting dignitaries. It makes for wooden television, what with all the shots of handshaking, long sequences of host and guests sitting side by side in armchairs, then more handshaking, but it is all that many Chinese ever see of the men at the pinnacle of power. Top priority, of course, goes to any 'meeting involving Chairman Mao. These occur infrequently, but the routine is always the same. As the an- nouncer reads the official an- nouncement that has already appeared in the day's edition of the People's Daily Mao Tse tung yesterday met and had a friendly conversation with the station runs a two minute, soundless film of the encounter. For Mao, the film will usually be run two or three times a night, two or three nights running. No other differentiation is made; whether the occasion is the visit of President Nixon or of some poo bah from the South Yemen it's all the same to the scriptwriters, editors and an- nouncers, who will report it all in the sort of deadpan tones that Walter Cronkite reserves for the Wall Street averages. Progress Apart from such ceremonial activities on the part of the country's leaders, the news will usually feature two or three filmed reports on the progress being made in in- dustry, agriculture, education, sports, indeed almost any area of life around which the tentacles of the par- ty have curled, which is to say just about everything. It might be a report on rice planters in the south praising the party for a new rice transplanting machine that saves them hours of backbreaking labor, or a piece about the happy lives of un- iversity graduates .from Shanghai who have been resettled at the party's direc- tion on the Mongolian grasslands, or something -about the heightened ideological consciousness of soldiers in a Nanking unit of the People's Liberation Army. Every few nights there will be a 15 minute slot for.inter- national news, devoted large- ly to the activities of Chinese delegations visiting overseas. This might be the latest denunciation of the Russians by the Chinese representative at the United Nations, or a se- quence on the Chinese team's performance .in a table ten- nis tournament in Sweden, or the visit of a high party figure to the celebrations marking the anniversary of the Alba- nian revolution. Public service The Chinese have film ex- change agreements with a number of foreign broad- casting organizations, and the fruits of these sometimes appear on the international news but only when the event in question serves to il- lustrate a point of party policy. Thus there were several reports on the American Indians' occupation of Wounded Knee two summers ago, always with a CBS-TV logo in the corner of the screen, and the announcer reading a script excoriating the U.S. government for oppressing its minority peoples. The news is sometimes followed by the Chinese equivalent of public service broadcasts. Sports are another aspect of Chinese television that are on the up and up. It used to be that the only matches shown were filmed, with the com- mentators never, never men- tioning the score, it being par- ty doctrine that games are played for friendship and not to win. This has all changed in the past couple of years, however, and live broadcasts of table tennis, basketball, volleyball, football and hockey are now common, complete with scores. A Sports commentator must still have his political wits about him, however, as a Canadian television crew dis- covered when they toured here with the University of British Columbia hockey team last year. During a game one night in the northeastern city of Changchun, the Canadians stationed themselves before the broadcast booth to get some footage of the play by play man, a regular Foster Hewitt with a rapid fire patter on the progress of the game. Will catch up The man, seemingly unper- turbed, continued with his patter until he saw the light on the Canadians' film camera come on, indicating that the film was rolling and the sound mike on. Instantly, without a break in his rhythm or a pause for breath, he launched into an encomium for Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor whose death in the service of the Chinese Red Army in 1939 was eulogized by Chairman Mao. It was an example of quick thinking and sensitivity to the party line, qualities that will be at a premium as the medium develops and switches more and more to live broadcasts, away from the rigidities of film. With a potential audience of 800 million, nobody should doubt that television here, like everything else, will slowly catch up with the western world. But Chairman Mao, giving live press conferences in the Hunan Room of the Great Hall of the People? As the Chinese would say, bu yao deng, meaning: Nothing doing. You deserve a retirement savings plan and a tax deduction. The easy way. Easy? Yes! Easy! Royal Trust has an easy way for you to have a R.S.P. It's called a Guaranteed Savings Account Retirement Savings Plan. Here's how it works: you start off with a minimum deposit of After that it's up to you. put away as much as you want, whenever you want. Either a lump sum or so much a week, so much a month. Just like a savings account. You probably won't even notice it but over a year it'll build up. Here's the end result. You'll have money put away for your future plus (and it's a big plus) you'll get a tax deduction each and every year you contribute. We can't think of an easier way for you to get the most out of your hard earned dollars. And we'll be glad to give you as much information as you need. Just call us or drop in. Decide what you want. We can help you. Guaranteed Savings Account Retirement Savings Plan Royal Trust 740 4th Ave. South, Lethbridge, Alberta ;