Posts tagged ‘revolutionary opera’

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Zhou Yongkang gets Life

A pretty fair comment by the BBC’s Carrie Gracie there »,

and a pretty prescient look onto what might be Xi Jinping‘s present tense and future here:


The BBC assessment also contains some Weibo utterances – frightening examples for what alcohol, a lack of good sex, and tons of ham-handed propaganda can do to the human brain:

“Tiger Zhou didn’t escape lawful punishment. It should ring a warning bell for others”, “Support justice. Everyone should obey laws!”, “He knows law but breaks law. He deserves to be punished. We’re determined to battle corruption” …



» How safe will he be in 2023, Dec 13, 2014


Saturday, December 13, 2014

After Zhou Yongkang’s Arrest: Xi Jinping rules – but how safe will he be in [2013] 2023?

A regular stream of news from the anti-corruption front keeps flowing to keep the Chinese public happy.

Hammer and Chisel

Hammer and Chisel

Zhang Xinhua (张新华), an industrial manager, sentenced to death on Wednesday, for embezzlement of some 340 Million Yuan RMB, a China News Service (中新网) article republished here by Enorth (Tianjin) reported on that same day.

Li Zhijiang (李志江), a former member of Taiyuan’s CPC city committee‘s standing committee and former head of the party’s organizational department there, has been removed from his posts for violating the spirit of the CCP’s Eight Provisions (中央八项规定精神), neglecting his job (or dereliction of duty, 失职), and other mistakes. This seems to have happened some time ago, a People’s Daily online article, rendered here by Youth Net, wrote this week.

And former development and reform commission deputy director Liu Tienan (刘铁男) goes to jail for life, CCTV reported, also rendered by Youth Net, on Wednesday. Liu had come under scrutiny late in 2012, thanks to the research of an investigative journalist.

Zhou Yongkang (周永康) is no longer a party member, and his arrest was announced on December 5. In its Banyan column, The Economist is critical of how China’s former “security” tsar is being treated by his – also former – comrades:

He has always looked a rather nasty piece of work, and China’s press now tells us just how nasty. Zhou Yongkang is a thief, a bully, a philanderer and a traitor who disclosed state secrets. The spider at the centre of a web of corrupt patronage, he enriched himself, his family, his many mistresses and his cronies at vast cost to the government.

But some delighted Chinese readers might also wonder how Zhou could possibly make it to the top if he was such a thoroughly bad egg.

Basically all the foreign press considers Zhou’s big fall – the biggest fall of the biggest stakeholder ever since the Gang of Four – as proof that CCP secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping is now in full control at the helm. But The Economist also warns that

[..] Mr Zhou’s case carries a danger for Mr Xi. By advertising the party as motivated by its zeal to combat corruption and as led by those promoted solely on merit, he may raise expectations of transparency and honesty that he will find hard to meet.

There are other big question marks, too. By recent standards – i. e. for the past two decades or so -, there has been an arrangement among China’s top leaders of how they come to power, and how they leave power. Any member of the collective leaderships with Jiang Zemin (until 2002) and Hu Jintao (until 2012) at the core would be a member of the politburo’s standing committee for a maximum of ten years. And no leader after Jiang Zemin would stay in power for more than ten years either.

Jiang and Hu never seem to have tried breaking that rule.

This theory of how succession works in Beijing suggests that Deng Xiaoping, after having had to sack two party secretary-generals,

made an unprecedented move – he simultaneously appointed two generations of successors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. One generation had to pass on the leadership to the next after two terms, after 10 years. This arrangement had one advantage, in this way there existed a mutually constraining relationship between two generations of successors; when Jiang’s time was over, he had to pass leadership on to Hu and thus, he would not generate the courage to betray the inflated ego of Deng Xiaoping; after handing the power over, Jiang would automatically come under Hu’s authority and so in order to protect himself, he would avoid a life-and-death struggle between two factions. Hu, on the other hand, had to rely on the legitimacy granted by Deng Xiaoping so as to guarantee that he would actually take over power according to plan and also so as to avoid that he would, like many successors in the past, leave the stage in poverty and misery; hence, he was very much concerned about treating Deng Xiaoping’s ideas as his guiding principles, protecting them with everything he had.

One may wonder if Xi Jinping is going to accept the same arrangement for himself, in 2022/23. It can be hard to be a pensioner in Zhongnanhai.



» An Insider’s View, NPR Berlin, Dec 24, 2014


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Monday Start-of-Work Links: Kim Jong-un “not the real Actor”?

1. A Deity doesn’t need to have a mind of his own,

argues Korhonen Pekka, a Finnish political scientist, in a post for Sino-NK. Nor does Kim Jong-un, he writes. Pekka interprets Kim’s reign as rather ceremonial, and that the bureaucracy is calling the shots. That however doesn’t appear to bode well for the future.

2. Lawyers should not Overestimate their Political Clout,

Fei Chang Dao quotes an editorial by Shan Renping (which is the pen name of Huanqiu Shibao‘s editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin). Fei Chang Dao (there appears to be a lawyer behind the blog) also explains the differences between the Chinese version of the article, and one published by Huanqiu’s sister edition in English, the “Global Times”. More recently, Fei Chang Dao explores how June-4 related searchwords are censored.

3. Public Diplomacy and its Limits

Obama’s Policies on Syria and Egypt, as well as on intelligence operations of U.S. administrations as revealed by Edward Snowden […] will have serious impacts on U.S. popularity in the world, Kilic Kanat, a political scientist, wrote on May 12, in an article for the English-language Daily Sabah from Istanbul. If Obama kept following his current policies especially on Syria and Egypt, […] the U.S. may face another downward trend in its standing. Under those circumstances, public diplomacy campaigns will only waste money on U.S. foreign policy.

Russia, Ukraine, or the Far East don’t seem to matter at all.

4. Meantime, on Capitol Hill …

… American senators and retired propaganda apparatchiks are trying to make sure that money spent on public money gets wasted indeed, by demanding that the language of Voice of America’s mission [..] explicitly state that the outlet has a role in supporting American “public diplomacy” and the policies of the government. To bring it down to a round figure, Fulbright scholarships are apparently being targeted by budget cuts.

No need for international exchange when you can broadcast linear propaganda, be it on shortwave, be it on “social media”.

This is the Voice of America, signing on. Hello World, shut up and listen!



» Umstrukturierung des US-Auslandsfunks, Radio Eins, April 5, 2014


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tianjin Cultural Front, unconstrained by Minor Matters

1. Military Pop

Update [20130803]: the show in full on youtube ——–>


Tianjin Satellite Television is going to broadcast a tribute show to celebrate the founding anniversary of the “People’s Liberation Army”. Han Hong (韩红), a singer and songwriter of Han Chinese and Tibetan origin and host of the show, explains in an Enorth (Tianjin) article of August 1 that

through the army songs, we want to communicate to young people how the two words “military people” are sacred. […] Some people have doubts how a theme like ‘Resonant Army Songs’ can be close to young people. I’m particularly looking forward to kids born after 1980 and 1990 singing army songs together. This will bring about a completely new feeling.

我们就是要通过军歌告诉年轻人,‘军人’两字是怎么样的神圣。 […] 有人会疑惑‘军歌嘹亮’这样一个主题会不会离现在的年轻人有点远,我特别期待80后、90后的孩子们一起来唱军歌,一定会带来一个全新的感觉。

According to Baike Baidu, Han Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Her father’s nationality is Han, and he had been among the young people who were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, to learn from the rural population. In 2009, Han Hong joined the political department of the Air Force Art Troupe (or song and dance ensemble) and has since served as the department’s deputy director. Her fans believe that her voice comes across as naturally as Sarah Brightman‘s, but those who (strongly) dislike her find her style artificial.

Han Hong is joined by four commenters (not quite a jury, as competition isn’t meant to be at the center of the show): Zhou Xiao’ou (周晓欧), Man Wenjun (满文军), Li Danyang (李丹阳), and Cai Guoqing (蔡国庆).

2. Miltary Movie

In June, Xiao Huaiyuan (肖怀远), Tianjin Municipal Standing Committee of the CCP and the Committee’s propaganda department director, described his impressions from a visit to the production of a television series “Way-finding” (“寻路”), a film about the history of the CCP   which enthusiastically sings the praises of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and other members of the old revolutionary generation who sought the correct path for China’s revolution in bloody struggles, their strong will and foresight […] (热情赞颂了毛泽东、周恩来、朱德等老一辈革命家为了探寻中国革命正确之路而浴血奋斗的坚强意志和远见卓识 […..]).

“Way-finding” strictly respected historical truth (严格尊重历史真实) and followed the principle of not falsifying the major events, but being unconstrained by minor matters (大事不虚、小事不拘), Xiao Huaiyuan wrote in an article for People’s Daily (人民日报), republished by Enorth on June 20.



» Regulating the Talent Shows, Channel News Asia, July 26, 2013
» Perfect Revolutionaries leave nothing to chance, Dec 2, 2010


Friday, March 8, 2013

Conspiracies and Control: no Detailed Plans for Currency War yet, but let’s attack Arrogant Abe

American, European and Japanese efforts to spark growth could devolve into a currency war, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), on Wednesday, interpreted remarks by Gao Xiqing, president of China’s CIC sovereign-wealth fund. Japan should not use its neighbors as a “garbage bin”, Gao was quoted. The WSJ’s Lingling Wei suggests that [t]he focus on Japan and the yen has taken some heat off Beijing, long accused by critics of artificially holding down the value of the yuan, Wei wrote in an additional article on Wednesday. Gao said that [o]ur job is to preserve the value of the hard-earned savings of the Chinese people.

Ever since the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694, behind almost every big global change, there had been the shadow of international finance and capital, Fu Bilan (付碧莲), a regular contributor to (or regularly republished by) People’s Daily online, mused in an article published by PD online on Wednesday:

They master a country’s lifeline and hold a country’s political fate in their hands. By inciting political incidents, inducing economic crisis, they control the flow directions and the distribution of the world’s wealth. It can be said that a history of global finance is the history of a conspiracy of seeking domination over the wealth of humankind.

China’s central bank is well prepared to react to a currency war, adds Fu. However, a currency war could be avoided. The latest G-20 meeting had drawn a few lines, such as restricting monetary policies to domestic functions. The G-20 meeting had also expressed the hope that monetary policies would not lead to competitive devaluation. But either way, China had taken responsive preparations to meet with any realities of quantative easing (量化宽松) that might occur abroad.

And of course, Fu Bilan hopes for some guiding policy decisions from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress – both of who are currently holding their annual plenary meetings.

The – pretty long – article is much more technical than what these short excerpts might suggest, but I can’t help feeling that some of its paragraphs were written in celebration of the life of Hugo Chavez. The world of finance is evil, of course – with the exception of China‘s world of finance.

However, there also seems to be a reluctance to discuss what measures China’s monetary-policy planners have in mind to react to a currency war. One of China’s deputy central bank directors, Yi Gang (易纲), was quoted on Sunday with remarks about taking realities of quantative easing on the part of foreign central banks into account, but no details were mentioned then, either.

For the time being, the wargames, at least in the press, seem to focus on multinational institutions, and the obvious target, again, is Japan:

Japan’s prime minister Abe shamelessly delcared that a Japanese national should routinely be appointed as the post of the Asian Development Bank’s first director. China should team up with ASEAN and other countries to smash their fond dream.

China’s nationalist Huanqiu Shibao didn’t even have to think this latest little conspiracy in international finance up – they are quoting “The Sun” (太陽報) from Hong Kong.

Patriotism won’t provide you with detailed plans for a currency war. But it helps to kill time until it arrives.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cordial Conversations: Volunteering on Lei-Feng-Day

Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报) is a paper from Hebei Province’s capital. It is the organ of Shijiazhuang’s CCP party committee and was established on November 18, 1947, six days after the the “People’s Liberation Army” had taken the city. Shijiazhuang Daily also runs a website which is clearly committed to the paper’s heritage. Shijiazhuang Daily and its online platform (Shijiazhuang News Net) aren’t unrivalled in their ideological orthodoxy, but they do live up to the former administrative region’s name of Chili, which, until 1928, included Hebei.

(CCTV cross-regional coverage, March 5, 2013)

Main Link: Our City Focuses on Carrying out Various Kinds of Voluntary Services – 我市集中开展多形式志愿服务活动

Shijiazhuang News Net, March 6, 2013 —

Yesterday was the 51rst Learning-from-Lei-Feng commemoration day, and it was also fifty years ago that Mao Zedong made his “Learn From Comrade Lei Feng” speech. Yesterday morning, our city held various Lei Feng volunteering service activities.


Own report (Wang Geng reporting). Yesterday Yesterday was the 51rst Learning-from-Lei-Feng commemoration day,and it was also fifty years ago that Mao Zedong made his “Learn From Comrade Lei Feng” speech. Yesterday morning, our city held various Lei Feng volunteering service activities. Permanent Provincial Party Committee member propaganda director Ai Wenli and municipal committee propaganda department director Sun Wanyong came to our city’s Times Park to participate in some voluntary tree-planting and other volunteer activities, gave the city a “Lei Feng Diary”, “Benefitting Hebei Province) and other books as gifts, advocated volunteer service and promoted the spirit of Lei Feng.

本报讯 (记者 王 更)昨日是第51个学雷锋纪念日,也是毛泽东发表题词“向雷锋同志学习”50周年。昨天上午,我市开展了多种形式的学雷锋志愿服务活动。省委常委、宣传部长艾文礼,市委常委、宣传部长孙万勇来到我市时光公园,参加了在此开展的义务植树等志愿活动,并向市民赠送了《雷锋日记》、《善行河北》等书籍,倡导志愿服务,宣扬雷锋精神。

Ai Wenli and his entourage first came to the park’s plaza to learn about the activities. More than twenty volunteer service groups were on the plaza, carrying out dental services, eyesight tests, Chinese massage, haircut and shaving, legal advice, car, mobile-phone and household appliances repairs, all in all nearly thirty volunteering activities. Ai Wenli had cordial converstations with the participants and Shijiazhuang citizens, asking them about their views and feelings about the Learning-from-Lei-Feng activities. In the park’s rockery, Ai Wenli took part in the task of planting trees and encouraged the volunteers who were with him: “there are more and more young people learning from Lei Feng who are born after the 1980s or 1990s, just like you. Lei Feng’s spirit will never go out of fashion and Lei Feng’s spirit must be inherited and developed ever further.”


Yesterday morning, at the New Railway Station’s entrance, waiting hall, ticketing hall and inquiry counters, at West King Bus Station and at the main traffic crossroads, etc., one could see young peoples’ silhouettes wearing red caps to attract attention, helping to keep the traffic orderly, showing people the way, advocating standing in line, carrying out civilizational guidance, etc.. They were young volunteers from the provincial capital’s [i. e. Shijuazhuang’s] colleges and universities. Shijiazhuang Vocational Technology Institute‘s volunteering student Tian Yudui told this reporter: “being a student, to do some duties in your spare time can help everyone to do something meaningful, something helpful. This is fulfilling and makes you feel that you are valuable.”


Volunteers*) were active in all community areas, some tidying and cleaning the places, some giving advice to older empty-nesters, some using their expertise to carry out useful services. Han Wei does repair work in some household appliance shop in the provincial capital. Yesterday, in the Zhuoda Rose Garden Park’s community area, he offered some voluntary household-appliance repair work. “Usually, after the [spring festival] holidays, when you come to these small community areas and help everyone reparing and maintaining their household appliances, it’s a service which is really welcomed. After helping others, you feel particularly good yourself, and really happy.”


According to provincial civilizational statistics, this city carried out various Lei-Feng activities yesterday, with fourty volunteer groups, nearly two-hundred volunteering organizations, about seven-thousand volunteers in the streets, entering schools, vilages, community areas to popularize knowledge about civilized manners, public civilizational guidance, legal advice, service on the three rural issues, medical services, convenience services, environmental cleaning and maintenance, tree-planting and greening activities, showing care and love for vulnerable groups and other Lei-Feng volunteering activities. Action with a red cap spells the “spirit of Lei Feng”.




*) Here, too, only “silhouettes” were seen. This may be meant to depict a certain atmosphere, or to make all the goodwill appear countless and collective. When it comes to traffic regulation, the silhouette talk could make a lot of real sense, though.



» How Lei Feng Embodies China’s Political Advantage, Febr 26, 2012
» The Good and Respectable Market Stall Operator, Nov 14, 2011
» Propaganda will set you Free, Aug 9, 2009


Monday, February 18, 2013

Outline of National Tourism and Leisure (2013 – 2020)

Main Link: » 国务院:2020年将落实带薪休假 探索学生春秋假, Febr 18, 2013

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Yanan Shaanxi maoist city meeting hall

Red Tourism: Don’t be a Maybe (click picture for source).

Enorth (Tianjin) / China News Service (CNS), Febr. 18, 2013 —

To all the Provincial, Autonomous Regions’, and Municipal People’s Governments, to all the Ministries and Commissions of the State Council, and to all Agencies directly under the State Council:
The “Outline of National Tourism and Leisure (2013 – 2020)” has been approved by the State Council and is now printed and distributed to you. Please implement them and carry them out conscientiously.

State Council General Office, February 2, 2013

CNS quotes the China National Tourism Administration‘s (国家旅游局) website with (apparently) the full outline.

The gist, according to CNS:

The outline says that by 2020, the paid annual leave system will have been basically implemented, with substantial increases in the comsumption levels of urban and rural residents.

The outline is meant to meet the continuously growing demands by the people and the masses on holiday and leasure, to promote the healthy development of the tourism industry, to promote the construction of a socialist-with-Chinese-characteristics citizen tourism and leasure system, and in accordance with the Opinions of the State Council on accelerating the development of Tourism (国务院关于加快发展旅游业的意见), document no. 41, 2009.

Besides technical considerations (or ahead of them), the document refers to the Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents (Jiang Zemin), and Scientific Development (Hu Jintao) as its guiding ideologies. Hence, attention is paid to keeping entrance to public museums, memorial halls and patriotism education bases (爱国主义教育示范基地, example here) free of charge. Issues of cheating tour guides etc. are also addressed.

The "Monument to the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet"

Patriotic enough? The “Monument to the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” (click picture for source).

The authorities are advised to bring “labor unions”, the Communist Youth League of China, the All China Women’s Federation and other mass organizations and trades into play.



» Linking Cultural Industries to National Economy, Jan 14, 2012


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh Come All Ye Faithful: Mao Zedong’s 119th Birthday

In Shaoshan, countless people sang “The East is Red” together to mark Comrade Mao Zedong‘s 119th birthday, notes People’s Daily online. Another activity on December 25 was a fitness marathon, in reply to Mao’s call to “develop sports to strengthen the people’s physical shape”. Nearly ten-thousand people from provincial departments colleges and universities, and from all over the province (i. e. Hunan Province) reportedly participated.

Follow the star over Shaoshan town.

Follow the star over Shaoshan town.

Another lot of countless people probably didn’t care, unless they absolutely had to. And the article in question was written by a fairly productive (judging by search results) trainee, or an intern.  To her glory, the short article is carried by many mainstream websites, too.

How can a party that claims have been the faithful inheritor and advocate of the outstanding traditional Chinese culture from the day of its establishment celebrate a barbarian mass killer?

There may be many reasons, but two seem to come to my mind. For one, they have to celebrate him. To admit that he had been a liability through most of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s would call the party’s legitimacy into question. After all, they enabled him.

And secondly, because maybe, Mao isn’t that much of a liability when it comes to party rule. Under the Great Helmsman’s correct leadership, 70-percent-correct leadership or whatever kind of leadership, the Communists showed the people what they were capable of. No, I’m not thinking about literacy statistics here, but about shock and awe. When a younger generation became somewhat forgetful, only twelve or thirteen years after Mao’s death, they got another – comparatively small – reminder of what the CCP can do for them.

And many people inside and outside China keep saying that the Tian-An-Men massacre in 1989 was a “necessity”.

But these two reasons alone basically seem to guarantee that China can’t develop genuine “soft power”. There may be soft power over some of our elites in Europe, for example, especially when they are tired of the cumbersome business of democracy – especially elections.

But no “ordinary people” in their right minds can subscribe to concepts like those.



» Convivial Diplomacy (2009), Febr 20, 2012
» Message to a Barbarian, June 26, 2011


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