• Fri
  • Aug 1, 2014
  • Updated: 11:18am
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 12:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

The cosmic truth is out there: PLA mouthpiece ridiculed over Chinese Dream piece


Patrick Boehler has written for Foreign Policy, Time, Bloomberg, Le Monde Diplomatique and the Chinese weekly Shidai Zhoubao. He has covered Southeast Asia for the Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung and China's relations with Myanmar for the Myanmese magazine The Irrawaddy, reporting from the trenches of the Kachin civil war and Yangon's tea houses. He began his reporting career in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini. Before moving to Hong Kong, he worked for Austria's ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Beijing. He studied in Milan, Vienna, Beijing and Hong Kong.

The People's Liberation Daily, the publication of China's armed forces, is well known for its patriotic stance. But on Wednesday it went way beyond its usual zeal - drawing ridicule from a less patriotic public.

The Chinese Dream "is like seeing a ship's mast in the sea, like seeing the radiant sun rise in the east," the mouthpiece of the world's largest armed forces read on its front page. It is "the dogma of my belief, the cosmic truth."

Chinese Dream is a catchphrase coined by President Xi Jinping shortly after he assumed the leadership of the Communist Party. The dream is "more important than anything," the army paper read. "Belief is like water that carries the ship; belief is like wind that sustains the wings."

The article appeared the same day as the populist daily Global Times and a day after the Communist Party's Red Flag magazine issued scathing rebukes against calls for constitutional rule in China, calling them contrary to China's traditional development.

For many netizens the three articles reflected a more assertive authoritarianism under the leadership of Xi Jinping. The more lighthearted comments ridiculed the "cosmic truth" comments with references to air pollution and North Korea's dogmatism. 

"Do they want to rename us 'West Korea'?" one person quipped

Another netizen, who calls himself "China's number one traitor" dug up an earlier reference to "cosmic truths" in a People's Daily article from a decade ago. It ranks high in a list of 10 characteristics of so-called "evil cults" banned in the country. 

The party's main newspaper did not help by publishing an article, also on Wednesday, which argued that the party's spirit was "not spiritually inferior to Christians swearing allegiance to God."


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