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China enlists stars for glitzy New Year TV shows

Celine Dion to appear on CCTV, Dragon TV recruits Psy

BEIJING

Canadian warbler Celine Dion and South Korea’s “Gangnam Style” star Psy are among the big names lined up for this year’s Lunar New Year gala TV celebrations, as Chinese broadcasters crank up the talent for the Year of the Snake.

State broadcaster CCTV’s annual Chinese New Year extravaganza, the “Spring Festival Gala,” is one of the most watched TV shows on the planet, and Saturday’s edition will feature Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On” from China’s favorite film, “Titanic.”

She will also sing folk song “Jasmine Flower” as a duet with Chinese soprano Song Zuying.

All channels are required to broadcast the “Spring Festival Gala,” but the increasingly powerful local satcasters are also putting on their own shows.

Shanghai-based Dragon TV has hired South Korean pop star Psy, to perform his “Gangnam Style” song and dance routine on its gala event on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Anhui TV Station will feature warbler Sarah Brightman, while Hunan TV has popular South Korean girl group f(x).

The commercial breaks during the holiday will also look a bit different.

Because corruption among government officials is a problem ahead of the holiday, the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV has banned ads for expensive gifts such as watches, rare stamps and gold coins.

“As important cultural and ideological strongholds, radio and television channels should fully exert their role of educating the people,” a SARFT spokesman told the Xinhua news agency.

Otherwise, the outlook for the Year of the Snake is auspicious, according to fortune tellers, because all five elements — fire, water, earth, metal and wood — are present.

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