Bo Xilai

'Red Culture' effort goes musical

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2011, 12:00am


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The 'Red Culture' campaign in Chongqing has reached a new level, with millions of residents ordered to sing along to 36 newly written songs, which have been added to the 24-hour-a-day local telecasts about the communist revolution.

A directive recently issued by the party's municipal propaganda department requires all printed and electronic media outlets under its jurisdiction to focus on the promotion of the songs to the public, according to the Chongqing Daily.

To mark the 90th anniversary of the party's founding on July 1, the central propaganda department endorsed a nationwide revolutionary songwriting contest co-organised by CCTV, China National Radio, the Musicians' Association and the National Academy of Arts, which began last July.

The competition's jury chose the 36 songs from more than 18,000 entries submitted by authors nationwide, the report said.

The municipal propaganda department had ordered news organisations to use various methods to encourage everyone to learn and sing the new songs, the report added, to enrich the spiritual and cultural lives of the public.

This was the latest measure in the 'Red Culture' campaigns championed by municipal party secretary Bo Xilai since he took office in 2007. Bo also ordered the reading of classic literature, the telling of revolutionary stories and the spreading of mottoes.

The campaign has given rise to controversy, with objections raised about the revival of Maoist culture at a time when the party - despite leading the mainland to remarkable economic growth in the past three decades - faces numerous predicaments, including rising inflation and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. In the hope of encouraging the learning and spreading of the red songs, Chongqing Cable TV and Chongqing Radio have filled their airwaves with broadcasts of the songs, and local newspapers have carried background information about each song daily since April 10, the report said. The campaign would continue until mid-May, it said.

From among the 36 songs, the jury committee will choose 10 winners as the most popular nationwide.

Ratings and revenue at Chongqing Cable TV have dropped significantly this year since it stopped accepting commercials and began following Bo's order to broadcast 'public service' programmes, such as revolutionary movies and documentaries, in place of popular soap operas and other dramas.

Simply red

The revolutionary songwriting competition marks this many years since the Communist Party was founded: 90