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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> NPC & CPPCC Sessions 2010> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: March 9, 2010 Web Exclusive
Actors' Union Is a Must
A political advisor calls for the establishment of an actors' union in China

HAVING HIS SAY: Chen Daoming, a CPPCC member with the China Television Production Center, gives a speech at a group discussion during the ongoing Third Session of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC in Beijing on March 6 (WANG WENJIE)

Professionals in the performing arts industry should have a union, a political advisor recently suggested.

Chen Daoming, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, made the suggestion at a group discussion during the ongoing Third Session of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC in Beijing on March 6.

"The current cultural market is fully opened but lacks governance," said Chen, a national first-class artist with the China Television Production Center, who has been called the "emperor of Chinese drama" for his long and wide-ranging career. "Problems such as copyright disputes, the reliability of entertainment news and misbehavior within the industry would be handled properly if we had a union."

According to Chen, the existing actors' association lacks real power over financial and personnel management, not to mention having the final say on related issues. Consequently, actors' rights are sometimes violated. One of the worst cases occurred when an anonymous person posted more than 500 artists' mobile phone numbers online in May 2005, eliciting a furious response from the industry.

Chen said it is not uncommon for an actor to be banned from a television station because of alleged "misbehavior." But the question is, as Chen raised, do television stations have the right to ban actors in the first place, and who is entitled to judge the "misbehavior" and then declare a ban?

"Without an actors' union, all of the abovementioned questions will become big problems," Chen said.

According to a report from Modern Movie magazine, there were 10,000 professional full-time actors in China as of 2008. There were no concrete numbers for part-time or amateur actors.

Currently, there are several associations concerning the performing arts, movies and TV dramas, actors, directors and television artists in China. "How to make these associations an effective and powerful institution is the issue that needs to be addressed," Chen said.


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