ARTS / CULTURE & LEISURE
Chinese netizens praise TV stations for preempting entertainment shows to mark passing of China’s ‘Father of Hybrid Rice’ Yuan Longping
Published: May 23, 2021 04:51 PM
Yuan Longping speaks to the press during the World Seed Congress on May 26, 2014. Chinese scientist Yuan Longping, renowned for developing the first hybrid rice strain that pulled countless people out of hunger, died of illness at 91 on Saturday. (Photo:Xinhua)

Yuan Longping speaks to the press during the World Seed Congress on May 26, 2014. Chinese scientist Yuan Longping, renowned for developing the first hybrid rice strain that pulled countless people out of hunger, died of illness at 91 on Saturday. (Photo:Xinhua)

 
Several Chinese TV stations and online platforms preempted the broadcast of their ordinary Saturday night lineup of entertainment shows to mourn the death of China’s 91-year-old “Father of Hybrid Rice” Yuan Longping, who passed away Saturday afternoon. The decision earned numerous thumbs- up from many Chinese netizens.  

China’s Hunan TV station set the example by preempting the regularly scheduled episode of the hit variety show Happy Camp, giving the time slot over to the 2009 biographical film Yuan Longping.

“Because of you, we are free from starvation. Tonight, let’s mourn together,” the official Sina Weibo account of Happy Camp posted on Saturday night. 

Hailing from East China’s Jiangxi Province, Yuan later worked and settled in Changsha, Central China’s Hunan Province. A pioneer in the research and development of hybrid rice in China, he helped cultivate a strain of high-yield rice that made China a world leader in rice production.

According to media reports, in a statement, the local Hunan TV station said it was proud of Yuan.

The viewership ratings for Yuan Longping on Saturday reached a new recent high for the station in its timeslot, becoming the most watched show in prime time.

Following Hunan TV station, Zhejiang TV station preempted a scheduled live broadcast in cooperation with online platform Baidu for a TV drama commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). A new variety show that was scheduled to premiere on Tencent Video was also preempted for patriotic programing . 

The move earned thumbs-up from Chinese netizens. “TV stations need to make money, but they also need human feelings,” one Chinese netizen commented on Sina Weibo. 

“This is not only a positive move by TV stations and online platforms to conform to public opinion, but also a form of commemoration that they chose to do themselves, which is worthy of respect,” Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.
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