Offering further indication of the shift away from the politics of Bo Xilai, who was removed as the leader of Chongqing on March 15, a report in today’s Chongqing Daily offers what seems to be a mea culpa by the municipality’s head of propaganda, He Shizhong (何事忠).
According to the report in Chongqing Daily, the official “mouthpiece” of the municipality’s top leadership, He Shizhong told a gathering of propaganda leaders on March 26 that “the cultural and propaganda work of the whole city must firmly and resolutely maintain a high degree of uniformity with the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.”
He Shizhong emphasized that Chongqing propaganda leaders needed to “realistically summarize and analyze propaganda and culture work over the past few years, in which there are a number of areas that require improvement.” Specifically, He said there was a need to “improve activities and methods, reducing as much as possible collective theatrical performances, firmly avoiding movement-style [propaganda] methods.”
Just over a year ago, as Bo Xilai’s campaign of “red songs” was in full swing in the city, He Shizhong defended the Chongqing’s policies on propaganda and culture.
In an interview with Chongqing Daily, He Shizhong sought to dispel fears that the “red China” theme was a celebration of China’s “leftist” past:
What does “China is red” mean? In its makeover, Chongqing Satellite TV upholds the principle of “I love Red China.” When we talk of “red” some people express opposition, saying that we are encouraging “leftist” sympathies, or even taking the old road of the Cultural Revolution. This is entirely wrong. The Chinese people have revered the color red since ancient times . . . The color red represents life, vitality, youth, ardor, brightness, vividness, strength, fullness of life force. In a limited sense, so-called “red culture” (红色文化) points to the way the Chinese Communist Party has, since the last century, led the Chinese masses through an explosive period of revolution and war, how it has built [China up], and about the spirit of the age that has emerged through opening and reform. China under the leadership of the CCP is a “red China.”