- By Isaac Stone FishIsaac Stone Fish is Asia editor at Foreign Policy, where he edits, reports, and writes stories from across the region. Previously a Beijing correspondent for Newsweek, Isaac wrote stories on such subjects as the Dalai Lama’s effect on international trade, China’s love affair with rogue states, and crystal meth in North Korea, a country he has visited twice. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Isaac spent seven years living in China prior to joining FP; he has traveled widely in the region and in China. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, Al-Jazeera, and PRI, among others.
Seen by as many as 1 billion people annually since 1983, China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is one of the most watched non-sports TV events in history. And it’s terrible: a Chinese variety show featuring saccharine songs, skits with most vestiges of humor or originality censored out, and (this year) performances by both Celine Dion and Yanni. For the latest Bloggingheads.TV episode, I spoke with Brendan O’Kane, a Beijing-based blogger at Rectified.name, about the show and the mangled wasteland that is Chinese television. Watch the entire episode here, or an excerpt on how the gala reflects life in China, below: