Don’t let red applause hide real problems

Tomorrow marks the official 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and celebrations are already underway across the country. Chongqing, where Bo Xilai (薄熙來) has led a resurgence of red culture in recent months, is of course in the lead. Photos of yesterday’s celebration in Chongqing, in which more than 100,000 people were brought together in a local stadium, are being shared across the web today (see below).

But yesterday, Guangdong’s top leader, Wang Yang (汪洋), delivered a speech to commemorate the 90th anniversary. And while Wang said Chinese were proud of the “glorious achievements” of the past 90 years and looked forward to the future “filled with confidence,” he emphasized that “searching for the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics” remained an “arduous task.”

Wang used the occasion of the anniversary as an opportunity to emphasize the seriousness of the challenges now facing China’s government, and to warn leaders against complacency and poor engagement with the public. He said many leaders “acted only in order to be officials” (为做官而做事) and harbored the arrogant idea that the ruling Party has created prosperity for the people, overlooking the importance of the people themselves as a force of historic progress.

Further, Wang Yang warned against losing sight of the real challenges facing China in a chorus of red songs and celebration.

“We must stay calm and maintain clear thinking,” said Wang Yang. “[We] must not allow fresh flowers and applause to drown the opinions of the people, must not let our numerical achievements disguise problems that exist, and must not allow development achievements to paralyze our consciousness.”

On its front page today, Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily gives big play to Wang Yang’s remarks on the 90th anniversary, using uncharacteristic bold red headlines to emphasize those sentiments in Wang’s speech that are arguably least “red.” The headline reads: “Do not let fresh flowers and applause drown the opinions of the people; do not let numerical achievements disguised existing problems.”


[ABOVE: The front page of today's Southern Metropolis Daily, with bright red headlines at top taken from Wang Yang's speech yesterday.]

Here are several photos of the Chongqing ceremony that have been shared across the internet.

2 Comments to “Don’t let red applause hide real problems”

  1. Given that places like Guangdong and Hainan were traditional places for nonconformist government officials to be exiled in the previous Imperial eras of Chinese history, I wonder where this fellow from Guangzhou will be exiled to?

  2. Tom says:

    First impression: Are these photos reminding anyone else of the mass games in N. Korea?
    Second thought: I’ve been to a number of performances, audiences are trained and the smiles are forced. In my current danwei people are grumbling about losing an evening to have go sing red songs. We were told that there must be at least 60 people in our group…so these might not be such shows of patriotism as much as duty.
    At least one official isn’t letting it go to his head.

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