GBA gala cheers nation as it emphasizes positive energy, enhances regional cohesion
China's campaign involving entertainment industry emphasizes talent, positive energy
Published: Sep 21, 2021 11:18 PM
Photo: A screenshot from Sina Weibo

Photo: A screenshot from Sina Weibo

The Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, which ended on Tuesday this year, have witnessed a tendency that this traditional Chinese festival was celebrated by galas that focused on sending out positive energy and inviting competent singers, rather than wasting money on idols in a bid for ratings.

One of the most-anticipated galas was the Mid-Autumn Festival Concert in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) 2021, jointly held by the Bauhinia Culture Holdings Limited and China Central Television in Shenzhen,South China's Guangdong Province,on Tuesday night.

Featuring some 200 top singers from the Chinese mainland, the island of Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, such as Jackie Chan, Wang Fei and TFBOYS, the gala was anticipated by many Chinese audience as a rare gathering of top musicians from across the country, given the tough period of the COVID-19 epidemic.

"In my eyes, apart from showing the development of the GBA, the highlight of the gala was the gathering of stars from the mainland, Taiwan island, Hong Kong and Macao. Among those, I most looked forward to their chorus of the songs Pearl of the Orient and Country," Lin Yumei, 26, a lawyer from Fuzhou, East China's Fujian Province, told the Global Times.

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong officially returned to the motherland. That night, Hong Kong hosted its largest-ever "TV karaoke," with millions of Hong Kong residents singing along to Pearl of the Orient while it played simultaneously on TV.

"Although I was only 2 years old at the time and don't have many memories of the momentous occasion, I grew up listening to my parents and teachers describe the exhilaration of that time. Today I can finally enjoy and witness a great cast perform this significant song once again," she added.

Lin noted that Country is a song dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the original intention of the creation was to reflect on the fate of China and its people standing together after the earthquake, snow disaster and hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. 

"These songs with strong positive energy, and performed by representative stars from all over the country, are bound to resonate with the feelings of family and country, and the homesickness of our compatriots in different places," Lin said.

The gala was held as some in Hong Kong were being reported to have helped incite violence in the 2019 anti-extradition bill movement in the city, such as Anthony Wong Yiu-ming. 

It also followed recent controversies involving some Taiwan entertainers, for example female host Dee Hsu and singer Jolin Tsai, over their political stances.

It was viewed as a great opportunity to enhance cohesion and convey patriotism amid the controversies.

Five middle-aged entertainers who recently rebranded themselves as the boy band GBA on the latest episode of the variety show Call Me by Fire, were also scheduled to attend the gala. 

The five members of GBA, which include 54-year-old Jordan Chan and 49-year-old Julian Cheung, aroused Chinese netizens' nostalgia for the heydays of the Hong Kong entertainment industry.

Besides the GBA gala, galas held by the Henan provincial TV station and the Bilibili website also attracted much attention. 

While galas held by Chinese online platforms and TV stations used to be luxury events that involved heavy spending for popular idols to ensure high audience ratings, these galas focused on restoring traditional Chinese programs and scenes of how people celebrated the festival in ancient times.

Under the "Clear and Bright" campaign led by the relevant departments, those in the Chinese entertainment industry who received invitations to perform at the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala this year were mainly powerful singers and actors with representative works. 

There were fewer idols with huge fan bases, and the concept behind the galas was also more exquisite, no longer simply competing with the popularity of the artists, but emphasizing themes and presentation, a senior entertainment industry insider surnamed Sun told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Sun noted that this year's show also brought more attention to truly talented but relatively unknown artists, and allowed the audiences to enjoy a higher level of performance.

"The performance of the galas highlighted family sentiment and traditional Chinese culture. There was less controversy among netizens on social platforms, and the discussion of the Mid-Autumn Festival Galas was more focused on the festival and the performances. 

"This is a pleasing phenomenon for the entire entertainment industry," Sun said.