04/28/2022, 12.11
RED LANTERNS
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Guangxi: the 'little red books' are back, but with Xi Jinping's words

by John Ai

The design of the pocket text is reminiscent of those distributed during the Mao era. It is part of the propaganda ahead of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which will most likely grant Xi his third term in office. Authorities censor online debate on CCP history.

 

 

 

 

 

Rome (AsiaNews) - The "little red books", also known as Mao Zedong's quotes during the Cultural Revolution, are back in the hands of the citizens of Guangxi: this time, however, with the words of the current leader Xi Jinping.

Xi's red books have appeared online following his recent appointment as Guangxi's delegate to the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress this fall. The distribution of the pocket-sized text, also called the "Modern Red Booklet," kicks off the campaign for Xi's third term in power.

Authorities in Guangxi have distributed the new red booklet massively; local official media have published photos in which people are posed to read Xi's quotes everywhere: you can even see peasants learning Xi's teachings in the fields, during break times (see photo 2). The small volume collects the Chinese president's speeches and his instructions to different areas of Guangxi. The Nanning Daily, the official voice of the provincial leadership, describes the pocket book as "a treasure in the palm of your hand."

Since February, many ceremonies have been held to deliver the text containing the "Xi-thought." State media say the booklets have been distributed en masse to schools, businesses, hospitals, hotels and in the countryside. Authorities said the distribution and use of the book is part of initiatives to greet the 20th Party Congress.

Xi's red booklet is intended to strengthen propaganda in preparation for the Congress. The CCP Politburo, China's top decision-making body, will undergo a reshuffle, while Xi is expected to remain in place. The chairman (and general secretary of the Party) abolished the term limit and became the most powerful leader since Mao's death.

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao's little red book was the guideline for everything. Now official propaganda invites people to spend 10 minutes reading Xi's quotes.

In addition to promoting Xi's thinking before the 20th Congress, Chinese authorities are also attempting to remove from the web interventions of "historical nihilism": research and opinions that contradict the official version of history (the one outlined by the CCP), thus undermining the Party's legitimacy.

ByteDance, the company that owns the popular social media site TikTok, is urging users to report "historical nihilism" content, including the most hotly debated sensitive topics at the moment, such as the debate over the history of the CCP and the theories of its former leaders.

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