The Southern Weekend, in it’s typical straight-faced celebrity freak show style, did an interview with Liu Zhongde, a former Minister of Culture and Director of the Central Propaganda Department. Let’s again hope that ESWN will pick this up; I’ll just present the freakiest parts of it — namely, how the quirks of one art-minded Party bureaucrat could affect the tastes of a complete country, a complete generation. Liu, who retired from both posts in 1998, made a name in the popular press earlier this year when he blasted the Chinese American Idol copycat show, Super Girls. “Super Girls is not art; it’s a disgrace to art” was his famous quote back then, and he sticks with it….
As the interview proceeds, we get to learn that Liu was also responsible for suppressing the popularity of Hong Kong and Taiwan pop stars in the early 1990’s, for the reason that “they have taken over all our TV shows and stages.” Surprisingly, he admits his admiration for the late Taiwanese pop idol Deng Lijun (Teresa Teng), although he does say “some of her songs are unhealthy”. As the country’s art-chief, he even thought of inviting her to the mainland to perform. His ass was saved by her sudden death in 1995, after which Taiwanese newspapers identified her as a secret KMT agent. Just imagine that she did make it to Beijing, and then the story broke. We would have suffered from a lot fewer of Liu’s other quirks. [Full Text]