Media outlets took a relatively low-key approach yesterday to commemorating the late Xi Zhongxun, a reformist party leader and the father of President Xi Jinping , on the 11th anniversary of his death.
Many news portals ran an article on their home pages featuring a quote in the headline saying Xi Zhongxun had "never made the mistake of being a leftist in his entire life". The article first appeared in China Newsweek for the 10th anniversary of his death.
Sohu.com featured special coverage under the headline "Xi Zhongxun: carve out a bloody path to reform, never make the mistake of being a leftist". It consisted of a compilation of old articles, photos and videos published in past commemorations.
A news portal run by the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily made the anniversary a "watching point of the day". It ran a February article from the Beijing Daily in which Professor Zhu Yan, of the party school, stressed Xi Zhongxun's interactions with ordinary people.
Xi, a communist revolutionary, was considered one of the more liberal party leaders and was purged several times by Mao Zedong . He was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution and later played a central role in opening up and Guangdong's experimentation with economic liberalisation as governor of the province.
Mainland-based political commentator Chen Ziming said such coverage was meant to remind Xi Jinping of his father's liberal mindset, especially after a series of left-leaning directives from the party's headquarters and similar remarks by party leaders in recent months.
"Xi Zhongxun is well known for his fights against leftists … and it's a father's lesson to the son," Chen said.