Xinjiang City Turns Lunar New Year Tradition Into Propaganda Quiz

A Xi Jinping-themed twist on a Chinese Lunar New Year tradition drew incredulous reactions from Twitter users after it was shared by famed dissident Twitter account @whyyoutouzhele. “Lantern riddles” are a staple of the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Lunar New Year. One street in Turpan, Xinjiang used fill-in-the-blank quotes from Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th Party Congress this past October to test passersby on their knowledge of the Party’s ideological work, political development, and COVID policies, among other topics:

[Editor’s note: The correct answers are written at the bottom of the post.]

61. We must ensure that the Party firmly exercises (a)___ over this work and that the responsibility system for it is fully implemented. We will cement and expand the mainstream thoughts and ideas that inspire hard work in the new era.

12. We have kept to the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics. We have comprehensively developed (b)______, made all-around progress in improving the institutions, standards, and procedures of our socialist democracy.

4. In responding to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, we put the people and ____ above all else, worked to prevent both imported cases and domestic resurgences, and tenaciously pursued a dynamic zero-Covid policy. In launching an all-out people’s war to stop the spread of the virus, we have protected the people’s health and safety to the greatest extent possible and made tremendously encouraging achievements in both epidemic response and economic and social development.  [Chinese]

The Lunar New Year is a politically sensitive time that is often marked by propaganda and censorship campaigns. The Central Cyberspace Administration of China announced a one-month “clean up” campaign to “cultivate a positive, spiritually healthy atmosphere for online public opinion during Spring Festival.” On social media, state media outlets shared a faux “video call from Xi” that mimicked WeChat’s call interface to disseminate clips of his Lunar New Years greetings address. The Spring Festival Gala, a state-run variety show watched by hundreds of millions across China, is saturated with political messaging. One of this year’s most popular skits lampooned officials who “lie flat” on the job. 

a) leadership
b) whole-process people’s democracy
c) their lives


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