China Reform Monitor - No. 1315

Xi Jinping Thought becomes the law of the land;
The PRC's war on hip-hop

February 7, 2018

January 19:

The second plenary session of the CPC Central Committee, presided over by general secretary Xi Jinping, has adopted a proposal to add Xi Jinping Thought and National Supervision System to China's constitution,
the Diplomat reports. According to the communique issued after the session, all 203 members and 172 alternate members unanimously adopted the proposition that "the major theoretical ideas, principles and policies – especially Xi Jinping's thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era – promulgated by the 19th Party Congress be included into the state's fundamental law." To amend the constitution "is not only in line with the development of the cause of the Party and the people, but also follows the heart of people," said a Xinhua commentary issued two days later.

January 21:

For the first time, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's South China Sea Fleet has deployed its H-6G bomber equipped with electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods underneath its wings during combat maneuvers. China has developed advanced ECM pods for several types of fighter jets, including the J-15 fighter and the JH-7 bomber,
the Times of India reports. By obstructing enemy electronic jamming devices and radar, either temporarily or permanently, ECM-equipped aircraft provide cover for PLAN warships to conduct operations. The H-6G electronic warfare aircraft's electronic jamming power can cover huge combat areas such as the South China Sea and East China Sea, the official Global Times reports.

January 22:

Censors are targeting hip-hop music, which has found resonance with Chinese youth after last year's hit show "Rap of China." Hip-hop is a "tool for people to vent their anger, misery, complaints as well as outrage" that "cannot thrive" in China,
the official Global Times reports. "Hip-hop's prospects in China seem dim after Chinese rappers removed from TV shows," read another Global Times headline. China's broadcasting watchdog had said immoral and vulgar content should be kept off the air, including hip-hop and tattoos, the official news portal Sina reports. Hip hop artists Wang Hao, known as "PG One," and Zhou Yan, known as "GAI" – two winners of Rap of China – have been sanctioned for content contrary to Communist Party values. GAI was pulled from his show "The Singer," and PG One, wrote Xinhua, "does not deserve the stage," and that "we should say ‘no' to whoever provides a platform for low-taste content." Official media quickly piled on and the artist's tracks were pulled from most online sites.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Party uses popular culture to shape public opinion, including co-opting rap artists. With CPC support comes the insistence that its values must take center stage in the artists' work. The campaign against hip-hop is part of a larger clean-up of cultural content in video games, online and even performance art amid a drive to make culture adhere to socialist core values. In 2015, China's culture ministry banned 120 songs - mostly rap - for "promoting obscenity, violence, crime or threatening public morality,"
Reuters reports.]

January 23:

China has started a month-long campaign to root out online video games that "have severe deviation in values, distort history, smear historical figures, violate government policies on ethnicities and religions, promote content that are lurid, violent or related to gambling,"
Xinhua reports. Authorities will block any illegal content that originates from overseas, but China's booming video game market, the world's largest, is largely being driven by domestic game developers like Tencent and NetEase. Last year, Tencent had to change a popular fighting game that regulators said was too violent and bring it in line with "socialist core values" before it could be released, Reuters reports.

January 24:

Authorities in Beijing have unveiled plans to demolish 40 sq. km of illegal structures and to "ensure zero increase of such structures," said acting mayor Chen Jining. In November, Beijing tore down buildings that violated safety codes, evicting tens of thousands of workers; this new move will displace thousands more,
BBC reports. The Chinese capital will also continue to "close small shops operated from illegal openings cut in the wall," according to an annual report by the Beijing government. These stalls are now considered "illegal modifications," that must be removed. Beijing has been trying to reduce the population in some parts of the city by 15% to ease pressure on its infrastructure, the official China Daily reported
in 2016. Critics accuse the government of targeting the millions of vulnerable migrant workers now present in the country.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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