Get Your “Four Comprehensives” On

The Chinese Communist Party is at it again — promoting it’s own awesomeness with an animated rap video (with a side of Beethoven).

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Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:

“Listen to me: four comprehensives, four comprehensives, building a moderately prosperous society is the goal;

Repeat after me: four comprehensives, four comprehensives, reform is the impetus;

Repeat after me: four comprehensives, four comprehensives, ruling by law is guarantee;

Repeat after me: four comprehensives, four comprehensives, party-building is the key.

And here is full video, in all it’s glory….

(Email readers: click here to see the video)

Image credit: South China Morning Post

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Reviewing the Year in Rap

Just when you thought it was safe to poke around the Chinese internet, the Chinese Communist Party releases a new “rap” video promoting Party Secretary Xi (“Big Daddy Xi”) and all the wonderful things he has done this past year.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about the video on their China Real Time Report blog:

The rap propaganda – dare we say, rap-aganda? – is the Communist Party’s latest experiment in modernizing its message. In October, the state-run Xinhua News Agency released a jaunty theme song to promote the 13th five-year plan, complete with a psychedelic music video featuring cartoon characters and a robot with a pile of poop on its head.

The new messaging effort appears to have delighted some of China’s netizens. On Weibo, one commenter wrote, “Compared with the previous outdated propaganda, this is way easier to listen to.” Another wrote, “I can sing it too: Smog! smog! smog!”

One critic wrote: “Easier said – or sung – than done. Only if the central government has the real intention and the local government had the power to carry it out will the people benefit.”

And in case you want to know what is being sung, here’s the rough translation from WSJ:

Take a look at the deepening-reform group in the year 2015

Building the economy, creating wealth, optimizing services

They streamline administration and delegate power to the lower levels, so please do trust the government

Don’t let the hand reach out when it’s not supposed to — let the market speak.

They’re determined to fight against corruption. They especially target ferocious tigers

They’re strict in governing the party and ruling the nation according to law, which makes people rejoice.

Carrying out the “three stricts and three steadies” and allowing supervision by the masses

Reining in officials who take bribes

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has been achieved a lot during the past two years.

Educational reform, medical reform and household registry reform. Reform! Reform! Reform! Reform!

Acting for the convenience and benefit of the people, giving them an easier life. Taking targeted measures in poverty alleviation and trying not to fall behind

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) To turn the people’s expectations into our actions.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Price reform, tax reform and state-owned-enterprise reform. Reform! Reform! Reform! Reform!

Streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels, releasing vitality. Supporting reform and upgrading the economy.

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) An arrow will never return once it’s shot.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Flies, tigers and large foxes. Capture! Capture! Capture! Capture!

To be strict in governing the party, we must first conduct ourselves honorably.  And we will surely win judicial reform.

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) Punish every corrupt official and fight every corrupt phenomenon.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Managing the water, managing the air, managing the land. Manage! Manage! Manage! Manage!

Clear waters and green hills are our golden mountains. What “One Belt, One Road” adheres to is:

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) The principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

To promote the progress of Asia and Europe in what’s called “One Belt, One Road”。

Free trade, openness, laws and finance, they are all helping each other.

Establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and accelerating infrastructure construction.

And finally the yuan was included in the SDR (Special Drawing Rights basket, an international reserve asset).

Facing the smog, they hate it so much.

To determine to protect the ecology requires a bow at full draw.

Suspend those who should be suspended. Halt those who should be halted.

Clear waters and green mountains are a necessary step forward into the new journal.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Educational reform, medical reform and household registry reform. Reform! Reform! Reform! Reform!

Acting for the convenience and benefit of the people, giving them an easier life. Taking measures in poverty alleviation and trying not to fall behind.

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) To turn the people’s expectation into reality.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Price reform, tax reform and state-owned enterprise reform. Reform! Reform! Reform! Reform!

Streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels, releasing vitality. Supporting reform and upgrading the economy.

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) Victory belongs to the man of valor at the key moment of reform.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Flies, tigers and large foxes. Capture! Capture! Capture! Capture!

To be strict in governing the party, we must first conduct ourselves honorably.  And we will surely win judicial reform.

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) To highly lift the sharp sword against corruption.

The deepening-reform group is two years old now and has achieved a lot during the past two years.

Managing the water, managing the air, managing the land. Manage! Manage! Manage! Manage!

Clear waters and green hills are our golden mountains. What “One Belt, One Road” adheres to is:

(Xi Jinping’s voice:) Openness and tolerance instead of closing up.

No mention of the …cough, cough….SMOG!

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Measures, Counter-measures, and Hotel Stars

There is a Chinese saying: shang you zhengce, xia you duice (上有政策,下有对策).  The top (leader) has its  measures, the bottom (people) has its counter-measures. Or, to put it in plain English: The leaders make the policies, and the people find ways around them. (I wrote about this in an earlier post titled Measures, Counter-measures, and Filial Piety).

hotelscom

Recent events once again clearly illustrate this truth. As part of it’s anti-corruption campaign, the Communist Party has banned officials from staying at five-star hotels. This has, of course, hurt business at five-star hotels favored by Party and government officials (redundancy alert).

Solution? Get rid of a star and become a four-star hotel!

CNBC reports:

“A five-star rating may be the holy grail of the hospitality industry, but top-end Chinese hotels are actively working to rid themselves of this prestigious ranking.

This comes as the luxury hotel sector struggles with shrinking revenues following the government’s decision last year to ban officials from spending money at five-star hotels as part of its broader austerity drive. “

In 2013, 56 five-star hotels sought to downgrade their ratings to four stars, state press agency Xinhua reported, citing Chen Miaolin, vice president of the China Tourism Association. 

Problem solved!

Image source: hotels.com

 

Pearl Buck Makes a Comeback, Sort of…

pearlbuckLike thousands of other Americans, my first introduction to China was through reading Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. Of course, when I read it in school, I never imagined that China would one day become such a big part of my life.

China File recently ran an interesting article about her titled “The Rehabilitation of Pearl Buck,”  Writing of her departure from China in 1934, the author says,

Buck left China with great reluctance. China had been her home. Fluent in both spoken and written Chinese, she had developed a deep affection for the country and its people, and had accumulated scores of friends. When she sailed from Shanghai in 1934, Buck took it for granted that she would be able to come back to visit the people and places she was leaving behind.History had other plans. Instead of bringing peace to China, Japan’s defeat in 1945 ignited four years of civil war between Nationalists and Communists. The Communist victory in October 1949 provoked a bitter response from the United States government, which refused to recognize Mao’s regime and banned all travel between the two countries. For more than two decades, neither Pearl Buck nor any other non-governmental U.S. citizen could legally set foot in China.

After Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 and the rapprochement between the US and China, she applied for a visa to return to her childhood home. Unfortunately, the request was denied.

The seventy-nine-year-old Pearl Buck, who had frequently told friends that she remained “homesick” for China, saw a last opportunity to return to the country in which she had spent more than half her life. She applied for a visa, sent telegrams to Zhou Enlai and other Chinese leaders, and hectored White House staff for presidential support. In May of 1972, after months of silence, a low-level Chinese bureaucrat stationed in Canada sent this refusal: since “you have in your works taken an attitude of distortion, smear and vilification towards the people of new China and its leaders, I am authorized to inform you that we cannot accept your request for a visit to China.”

The remainder of the article is about the shift in attitudes towards Buck by Chinese officials. Forty years after that abrupt, and shall we say nasty denial, China’s attitude towards Pearl Buck has softened:

Finally, in May of this year, Pearl Buck was more or less rehabilitated. The faculty of Nanjing University gained approval and raised funds for the restoration of the campus house in which Buck had lived. Supervised by distinguished architects and historians, the renovations have been meticulously carried out.

The entire article is definitely worth reading because it offers an interesting glimpse of modern China’s complicated relationship with its past and the foreigners in its past.

And by the way, my favorite book by Pearl Buck is Pavilion of Women.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite is.