Monday, October 19, 2015

Fwd: How China guards the Xi creation myth

i think the xinhua cheque to the BBC is a little late. similarly the Economist also questioned xi's hitherto god-like status. my my, them natives are getting restless when the money flow dries up :-)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

As a teenager living under Chairman Mao's rule, China's President Xi Jinping spent years living in a countryside cave. It is possibly the most positive chapter of his life - but, as I discovered, propaganda chiefs are still determined to control the way journalists re-tell the story.
I was looking forward to seeing the cave where China's president grew up but as our van skimmed along behind the sleek black sedan, I was nervous too. The man from the propaganda department already had an anxious sheen about him. I foresaw trouble.
President Xi is building a personality cult. The last thing the strongman with the perfect creation myth needs is the BBC puncturing it. So pity that local propaganda chief in the car ahead.
In general the president's spin doctors do a very slick job of presenting him as a man of the people. He tours leaky back alley homes, ducking through washing lines and wearing no face mask - the message that this is a leader prepared to breathe the same polluted air as you. He talks to his public in earthy prose, telling students that life is like a shirt with buttons where you have to get the first few right or the rest will all go wrong. He queues up in an ordinary dumpling shop for lunch and pays for his own meal. Message - he is neither greedy nor showy.
It's all clever political signalling of course. Behind the smile, Xi Jinping is a ruthless operator. You don't rise to the top of the Chinese communist party without being a consummate political player and Mr Xi has spent a lifetime playing.
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