China’s President Pushes Back Against Western Culture (Updated)

Last year’s CCP Central Committee plenum focused on “cultural reform” and the main document released after the session was titled, “Central Committee Decision Concerning the Major Issue of Deepening Cultural System Reforms, Promoting the Great Development and Prosperity of Socialist Culture.” Now, President Hu Jintao continues this policy initiative with an essay in which he calls on China to boost cultural production in order to counter a cultural and ideological “assault” from the West (See link to full translation of the article below). From the New York Times:

The essay, which was signed by Mr. Hu and based on a speech he gave in October, drew a sharp line between the cultures of the West and China and effectively said the two sides were engaged in an escalating war. It was published in Seeking Truth, a magazine that evolved from a publication founded by Mao as a platform for establishing Communist Party principles.

“We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration,” Mr. Hu said, according to a translation by Reuters.

“We should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle, always sound the alarms and remain vigilant, and take forceful measures to be on guard and respond,” he added.

Those measures, Mr. Hu said, should be centered on developing cultural products that can draw the interest of the Chinese and meet the “growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people.” Chinese leaders have long lamented the fact that Western expressions of popular culture and art seem to overshadow those from China. The top-grossing films in China have been “Avatar” and “Transformers 3,” and the music of Lady Gaga is as popular here as that of any that of any Chinese pop singer. In October, at the 6th plenum of the party’s Central Committee, where Mr. Hu gave his speech, officials discussed the need for bolstering the “cultural security” of China.

Update: Rogier Creemers has translated the full article by Hu Jintao on his blog, China Copyright and Media.

See also: “What’s Behind the Communist Party’s Focus on Cultural Reform?” from CDT.

January 3, 2012 2:41 PM
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