UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Radio Free Asia

China's Ruling Party on Track to Ensure Everyone Sings The Right Tunes

By Qiao Long, Yitong Wu, Chingman 2021-08-12 -- As the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) heads to the seaside resort of Beidaihe for its summer conference, the administration of general secretary Xi Jinping has ordered the deletion of songs with banned political content from the nation's karaoke parlors.

China's ministry of culture said it would crack down on one of the nation's favorite pastimes from Oct. 1, banning songs containing "illegal content" from bars and karaoke venues.

From that date, venues will be responsible for seeking out and deleting banned songs, and exhorted to leave only songs full of "positive energy" on their databases.

A blacklist of songs will be maintained by the ministry's karaoke music review board, it said.

Songs will be banned and deleted if deemed by the board to "endanger national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity," "harm national security, honor or interests," or "incite ethnic hatred," according to the document.

Any songs regarded as obscene or promoting violence, gambling, or drug culture will also be deleted, as well as songs deemed "insulting" to others, it said.

Tunes that actually advocate independence for any region or people, or call for the overthrow of the CCP, are fairly non-existent, although there are CCP-approved revolutionary songs that call for the "liberation" of the democratic island of Taiwan, which has never been ruled by the CCP nor formed part of the People's Republic of China.

Instead, censors are more likely to target tunes that are associated with certain ways of thinking considered foreign, religious, or unhealthy, or with specific political and social movements, including songs by veteran rocker Cui Jian, or 'Vast Sky and Endless Sea' by Hong Kong rock band Beyond.

The move comes as analysts said general secretary Xi Jinping will be looking to build support for a third term in office and wipe out any sign of dissent from within CCP ranks at Beidaihe.

According to an outline for the meeting published by state news agency Xinhua, the agenda is mostly taken up with the further transfer of power -- including the power to enforce laws and the "equipment" to do so -- to administrative departments.

Under the plan, local neighborhood committees and residential committees will be entrusted with enforcing laws and regulations.

The government is also planning to "speed up the formulation of standards for the provision of administrative law enforcement equipment at different levels," the outline said.

Meanwhile, party committees and governments at all levels "should thoroughly study and understand Xi Jinping's thoughts on the rule of law," the outline said.

Setting the agenda

The Beidaihe conference will set the scene and the political agenda for the 20th Party Congress, expected in the fall of 2022, analysts told RFA.

"The outline ... limits itself to the administrative side of government, which is a closed administrative system not involved in the formulation of policy," the academic said.

"This so-called plan to govern under the rule of law by 2035 is an important item on the agenda of the 20th Party Congress," the academic said. "But this is just about appearances."

The emphasis on the transfer of further powers to the administrative arm of the Chinese government strongly suggests that Xi Jinping will be staying in post for the next five years, as the measures in the outline are slated for completion in 2025.

"There are no new ideas in any of it, and it's hard to see what effect this will actually have on the rule of law," the academic said.

Chinese scholar Song Yang agreed.

"As always, there is a lot of high-faluting language and flashy vocabulary in here. It's all written in the same old elevated rhetoric," Song said. "But nobody will be able to put such a thing into practice."

"In reality, there will be no room for any kind of dissent from within party ranks," Song said.

"In recent years, there has been a name for that: everyone has to sing from the Central Committee's hymn sheet."

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Copyright 1998-2021, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. For any commercial use of RFA content please send an email to: mahajanr@rfa.org. RFA content August not be used in a manner which would give the appearance of any endorsement of any product or support of any issue or political position. Please read the full text of our Terms of Use.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list