Foreign Policy Blogs

Chinese Propaganda Comes to Southern California

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On October 8, a song and dance performance commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Long March of the Red Army of the Communist Party of China will be presented at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel, California. Organized by the American Chinese Culture Association (ACCA, 美中文化协会), the event is also being protested by local Chinese American human rights activists.

“I was one of the immigrants who fled China to be free of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution,” activist Rocky Chang told Christopher Yee of the Pasadena Star-News, “It’s shocking that they’re starting to infiltrate the Chinese-American community to promote communist ideologies.” Unlike China the United States does not practice censorship, so the show is unlikely to be cancelled, but seems certain to face further protest. Similar events in Australia marking the 40th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s death were cancelled by organizers in September following protest by human rights activists in the Chinese Australian community.

Publicity for Long March 80th anniversary gala (Chinese Daily USA))

Publicity for Long March 80th anniversary gala (Chinese Daily USA)

Like organizers in Australia, those in Southern California have a clearly propagandist purpose and clear ties to Chinese Communist Party and pro-Beijing organizations such as the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification (CCPPNR, 中国和平统一促进会) in Beijing. ACCA president and lead organizer Lin Xu (林旭, aka David Lin) had the following to say on the Long March and the purpose of its commemoration in Southern California (Chinese Daily USA; see also Channel G&E, International Daily News, World Journal):

“The spirit embodied in the Long March is the most core value in Chinese culture…. Eighty years ago, Red Army soldiers completed the Long March and shocked the world, opened up a bright road for China’s future, and laid the foundation for the birth of the People’s Republic of China. This great historical event is the pride of the Communist Party of China leading the Red Army of Chinese workers and peasants, the glory of the Chinese army, and the pride of the Chinese nation.

“With the increase of China’s influence in the world and the progress of human history, the Long March of the Red Army will become the heritage of world civilization and will be recognized and respected by all mankind. Like the biblical Exodus, this story will be known around the world and immortalized in history. This is precisely the purpose and meaning of today’s commemoration of this history—it belongs to the future and to all mankind!”

Lin Xu (center) with Chinese vice-consul Wang Lei (left: Chinese Daily USA)

Lin Xu (center) with Chinese vice-consul Wang Lei (left: Chinese Daily USA)

Lin Xu and co-organizers of the Long March event also organized a forum in June in Los Angeles to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Speaking at the forum, Liu Qing (刘青) of CCPPNR praised the Communist Party for its “great achievements” and stressed the importance of “united front work” in bringing Chinese people in China and abroad together under the party’s leadership. Ding Lixin (丁立新), president of Hollywood Chinese TV (HCTV, 好莱坞中文卫视), spoke on “expanding Chinese propaganda and enhancing the Chinese Communist Party’s international image.”

Hollywood Chinese TV president Ding Lixin (HCTV/DuXuan.cn)

Hollywood Chinese TV president Ding Lixin (HCTV/DuXuan.cn)

In 2014 Lin with co-organizers Deng Guifeng (邓桂凤) of the Jiangxi Association of America (美国江西联谊会) and Li Lanping (李兰平) of the Shaanxi Association of America (美国陕西同乡会) appeared in a “Joint Statement of CCPPNR and Worldwide Overseas Chinese Associations”  (signatures #3, #54, and #113) condemning the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, supporting the Chinese central government and its puppet government in Hong Kong, and opposing interference by “foreign forces” in “China’s internal affairs.”

Lin was an organizer for an anti-Japanese protest in Los Angeles on the occasion of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the United States in 2015; and in 2004 appeared in the Communist Party’s official newspaper People’s Daily speaking out in support of mainland Chinese claims on Taiwan and against Taiwan independence. Mr. Lin and his associates enjoy the right do all of these things in the United States, of course—a right denied to those in China whose opinions might differ.

 

Author

Mark C. Eades
Mark C. Eades

Mark C. Eades is an Asia-based writer, educator, and independent researcher. Located in Shanghai, China from 2009 to 2015, he now splits his time between the United States and various locations in Asia. He has spent a total of seven years in China since his first visit in 1991, and has taught at Fudan University, Shanghai International Studies University, and in the private sector in Shanghai. He is also widely traveled throughout East and Southeast Asia. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and a Master of Arts in Humanities from San Francisco State University with extensive coursework in Asia-Pacific studies. His previous publications include articles on China and Sino-US relations in U.S. News & World Report, Asia Times, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and Atlantic Community. Twitter: @MC_Eades

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