An answer from another question linked this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou_Television_Cantonese_controversy which says:

Due to Mandarin’s status as the official language, use of the country’s other languages in television as well as radio and film is rigorously restricted by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT).[6][7][8] Permission from national or local authorities is required for using a dialect as the primary programming language at radio and television stations.[7]

Is there a list of all approved languages for use by SARFT?

3 Answers 3


Personally, I don't think there is a list for this.

Local radio and TV stations are allowed to broadcast with dialect within Local ONLY.

For example, 广东卫视 is broadcasted in Mandarin and is available to every province in China. While, for example, 南方卫视 and 珠江频道 are broadcasted in Cantonese, which is ONLY available within Guangdong Province.

Generally speaking, Radio and TV station are in 2 categories, available to every province and available within a specific province. I believe every province has many stations for both type.

Also, dialect varies a lot even inside Guangdong Province. Taking "accent" into consideration, Cantonese in Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Maoming, Dongguan, Qingyuan sounds different. Not to mention Teochew dialect and Hakka Chinese, all inside Guangdong province. For Teochew dialect, the difference of Chaozhou and Shantou is more than notable.

That's why I believe, it might be not possible to list all approved languages.


Yes: 普通话.

All other languages, topolects and regiolects may occur in local plays, in educational material, in foreign movies etc.





  • I meant, like Canto has been, explicitly, approved to use on TV, which others have received approval?
    – Mou某
    Aug 5, 2016 at 4:15
  • 1
    @user3306356 It's not the language that gets approval, it's the program. If you are to start a Cantonese program you still need an application. Cantonese doesn't get any more privileges than other topolects. Aug 5, 2016 at 4:29
  • There is still Cantonese TV company in Hong Kong. So people could still hear Cantonese in Guangdong province.
    – user13501
    Aug 5, 2016 at 11:27
  • @WangDingwei Is there a list of the different language programs that have been approved then?
    – Mou某
    Aug 6, 2016 at 9:57
  • In all satellite broadcast TV channels (i.e., 卫视), only Putonghua is allowed. There are two exceptions to this rule, explained below.
  • The first exception is for satellite TV channels in Guangdong Province within the Pearl River Delta (珠江三角洲), which are allowed to use Cantonese in TV programs. 珠江卫视 and 南方卫视 both broadcast in Cantonese (in the Canton/Guangzhou dialect) to the entire province. Moreover, SARFT allows Hong Kong-based TV corporations (currently only TVB, previously also Asia TV) to broadcast their TV programs in Guangdong.
  • Satellite TV channels in localities with substantial shaoshu minzu (minority ethnicity) population may use ethnic languages. Guangxi Satellite TV, Inner Mongolia Satellite TV and Tibet Satellite TV have news progams in Zhuang, Mongolian and Tibetan, respectively. Satellite TV channels in Xinjiang use Uyghur and Kazakh.
  • As mentioned above, traditional Chinese opera are sung in the language that they are supposed to be sung.
  • Other than in satellite broadcast TV channels, the SARFT does not fully prohibit (instead only limits) the use of local dialect. Actually, I cannot think of one major city that does not have at least one local TV program in the local dialect. But they do need to apply for permission from the agencies.
  • As for radio, I know that the the official China National Radio (中央人民广播电台) and Chinese International Broadcast (中国国际广播电台) themselves have channels in Cantonese, Hakka, Korean (intended for the Korean Chinese population), Uyghur, Tibetan and Kazakh. Most radio channels are local, so they do use local dialects as do local TV channels.

So, no, there is no definitive list. All local dialects can be potentially used on TV and radio, but the only Chinese language that could be broadcast on TV above the city level (besides Putonghua) is Cantonese.

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