On Wednesday the government announced that state-owned performing arts groups won't get anymore public funding and they'll have to focus on market demand than on satisfying the tastes of officials.
The Ministry of Culture said this on its website, saying all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, except Tibet and Xinjiang to complete at least one privatization by the end of this year.
From 2010 onwards, performing arts groups need to be public or private companies. The government promised the groups would continue to get funding, but would eventually be weaned off, which means they have to find other funding through subsidies or loans.
This is a great leap forward in terms of changing the arts landscape in China.
Hopefully this will mean the cream of the crop will rise to the top, and the mediocre left to fight for survival; it will help raise the standard of China's artists, and perhaps breed innovative works and better performers.
Will this result in fewer performances of Peking Opera, The Red Detachment of Women, or bizarre avant-garde theatre?
It will probably mean fewer opportunities for up-and-coming new talent to perform, but it will also lead to audiences getting their money's worth.
The best part is that the government itself has decreed no more works geared towards officials' tastes -- they must be really bad if Beijing has decided to crack down...