The Chinese government’s efforts to quell rumors – code for any communication critical of or threatening to The Party – seem to just foster more rumors. Never quite knowing what is going on is much more intriguing than the simple facts would be.
This is the case with the “Maoist Revival” that David Bandurski of China Media Project writes about.
It took place on May 2nd – a massive celebration of Mao, with prominent footage of President Xi Jinping, held in the imposing Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square just before the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution. There was criticism, then there was counter-criticism, and then there was this:
Things took an unexpected turn on May 6, when the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theatre, one of the event’s hosts, announced in a formal statement posted to its website that the group with which it had cooperated for the “On the Field of Hope” event — the so-called Central Propaganda Department Socialist Core Values Publicity and Education Office — was a “fake organisation” that had “provided fake materials swindling the trust of our theatre.” The theatre pledged that it would “pursue the responsibility of “relevant persons.”
How is this possible? How could a “fake” education office portray itself as attached to the Central Propaganda Department and manage to hold a major propaganda event lauding Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People?
Coverage of the event by state news agency Xinhua mysteriously disappeared online. The People’s Daily then ran a piece on the anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution affirming that the Cultural Revolution was a mistake. Now, the rumors are that someone put on the show to embarrass Xi Jinping by linking the personality cult he’s been building with that of Mao.