Cultural revolution

People wearing face masks stand in front of a painting of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong, while waiting in line to enter a flagship merchandise store for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics before it opens, on Wangfujing Street in Beijing, China, 9 February 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Are the Chinese people the true masters of their country?

Lance Gore reflects on what Chinese Communist Party cadres today understand by the phrase “Serve the People”, stating that people in positions of power could either serve the people slavishly or ride roughshod over them. The impetus to do right by the populace is simply not ensured. As the authorities seek to get the people more involved in “whole-process democracy”, they will need to consider how the regime’s affinity with the people may be maintained in the absence of electoral democracy.
Visitors rest on benches at a People's Liberation Army Flag Guard barrack near the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on 3 March 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The curse of political correctness in China and the US

How the China-US conflict will end very much depends on the vociferous court of public opinion of each country. At the moment, political correct views are being spewed on both sides. Such behaviour shows a common human weakness to demonise the other and threaten to keep both sides locked in a vortex of vitriol. East Asia Institute academic Lance Gore implores the people of both countries to keep their senses and adhere to their better judgement. In particular, China should be clear-eyed that the combined strength of the US and its allies exceeds any level China may attain in the foreseeable future and act accordingly.
Students attend a lesson at a school in Qingyuan county, Lishui city, Zhejiang province, China, on 9 December 2021. (AFP)

Students snitching on teachers in Chinese classrooms: Return of Cultural Revolution?

Another internet furore has erupted, this time over a Shanghai college lecturer who was ratted out by her student and accused of being “spiritually Japanese” for questioning the death toll of the Nanjing Massacre. Are fears of a Cultural Revolution returning justified as people feel emboldened to tell on others without much thought?
Visitors stand near exhibits of rice paddy fields and a screen showing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 11 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Provincial reshuffle: Post-70s generation cadres take up top positions in China

After the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party of China gradually instituted a system of leadership renewal so that the party would not face a “generational break” in the party’s leadership. At the provincial level, party leaders are typically in their 50s and seen to be in the prime of their lives and ready to ascend to even higher positions at the national level. Yu Zeyuan highlights the rising stars in this latest round of provincial movements.
Tourists are seen at an entrance of the Forbidden City amid snowfall, in Beijing, China, 7 November 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Professor Wang Gungwu’s Tang Prize 2021 lecture: China’s road from wen to shi

Professor Wang Gungwu, recipient of the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology, delivered a Tang Prize Laureate Lecture at Tang Prize 2021 on 20 November. In tracing China’s history from empire to nation, he relates in tandem his journey of becoming a historian, from being a Chinese overseas in his youth, then returning briefly to the motherland before starting a new life in a new country. “That seemed like the real meaning of my leaving China,” he says, “ requiring me to think as a huaqiao settling down as a citizen of a foreign country... But I did learn that I could leave China but China did not leave me.” Whether in his studies of the Five Dynasties period of the 10th century or Mao’s China and the struggle to find its future after throwing away its own past, he noted that wen (文)-texts supported central power and shaped the system’s collective memory, and were most useful as the shi (史) records of every dynasty. This nexus can perhaps help us understand how one Confucian past could serve to denigrate one set of leaders but provide greater legitimacy for another, and how the continuity of China’s history can be preserved in the future.
A man stands in front of images of Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 11 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Overseas culprits triggered Tiananmen incident; China will advance under Xi Jinping Thought: CPC's third historical resolution

Last week, the Communist Party of China (CPC) passed a resolution on historical issues, the third such resolution in its 100-year history. Analysing the text of the resolution, Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at the way the CPC has shaped the narrative of the party’s history and how it has defined the guiding role of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” in bringing China to its next lap of development.
People wave red flags during the filming of a Communist Party of China propaganda video in an upscale shopping district in the Sanlitun area in Beijing, China, 19 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Uniting China under Xi Jinping to build a modern socialist country: CPC to pass new 'historical resolution' at sixth plenum

At the sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee which begins today, the CPC is expected to consider the “Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements of the Party’s Centennial Struggle”, the third of its kind in the party’s history. Rather than dwelling on the errors or lessons of history, the resolution is expected to reaffirm the party’s achievements and point the way ahead for the next 30 years.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a ceremony at the Monument to the People's Heroes at Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs' Day, in Beijing, China, 30 September 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Is Xi Jinping really going back to Maoism?

Some analyses have sounded the alarm of China lurching to the left in a marked return to Maoism. On closer examination, says Loro Horta, China’s recent clampdowns on capital are rational and not exactly ideologically driven. Issues facing China, such as the need to tackle rising inequality, affect the ruling party’s legitimacy and longevity. These concerns may have a strong push effect on the authorities. In fact, rather than a reversion to Maoism, the Xi government seems to be embracing Confucianism as a basis to enforce social order and norms, just as it derides “evil fan culture” as a means to keep a tight rein on social control.
This aerial photo taken on 1 September 2021 shows students attending the opening ceremony on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)

A new Cultural Revolution? Why some Chinese are shocked by the CCP's relentless pursuit of 'common prosperity'

The Chinese authorities’ recent moves to regulate industries from internet platforms to tutoring to gaming have prompted fears of a new Cultural Revolution. Despite benign intentions expressed and a clear line drawn in the sand on history, what are people so afraid of? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong ponders the question.