(The Epoch Times) Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party love to talk up a “New China.” Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) actually compelled the Chinese people to abandon 5,000 years’ worth of traditions and customs. Revolutionary songs and folk theater violently replaced classical poetry and dance.
The Chinese regime’s fifth leader, however, has recently gone off script by praising traditional Chinese culture in almost reverential tones.
Speaking to over 3,000 Chinese literary types and the full Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing on Nov. 30, Xi Jinping said to look toward traditional culture to usher in a “great cultural renaissance” for the Chinese people.
“The Chinese people’s ability to progress endlessly and continually recover from setbacks is inevitably linked to the powerful support of Chinese culture,” said Xi. “Chinese culture’s unmatched philosophy, wisdom, presence, and grace strengthens the innermost confidence and pride of Chinese citizens and the Chinese people.”
Those engaged in literary works have to “diligently pursue authentic scholarship, good morality and conduct, and high-level aesthetics,” he said.
Xi also demonstrated his own knowledge of Chinese culture by sprinkling his speech with classical maxims, like “the pen of literati encourages compassion and punishes evil”—views that are unexpected from the leader of a regime that has been severely violating human rights for over 60 years.
This is an obvious ploy to stoke the nationalism of the Chinese people and increase the Communist Party’s own authority.
Of course, Xi’s speech, which is over 9,500 characters long, contains the obligatory references to “socialism” and the Party’s role in “guiding” cultural developments in China. Indeed, his speech can in some ways be seen as a continuation of a long-term Communist Party project to legitimize the regime by linking it to pre-communist ideas and traditions.
Nevertheless, the frankness of Xi’s praise for traditional culture, and some of the specific wording he used, appears to be “a break from the framework of the Chinese Communist Party,” according to Li Tianxiao, an independent political commentator.
The Communist Party of China has, and will always rejected the divinely inspired side of traditional Chinese culture, but this will not stop Xi Jinping from using faux reverence for Chinese Traditions to legitimize his own rule.
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