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Canadian Singer Sang a Revolutionary Opera Piece at CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala

Thomas Glenn, a Canadian opera singer who won a Grammy Award in 2012 for best Opera recording, sang a Revolutionary Beijing Opera piece at Chinese Central Television’s (CCTV) 2013 Spring Festival Gala.

The Spring Festival Gala, also known as Chun Wan, is one of the government TV network’s flagship programs. It provides a live broadcast every year on the Chinese New Year’s Eve to billions of Chinese people, domestically and overseas, who are celebrating the Lunar New Year at home, most of whom have their TV turned on. The four-plus-hour-long gala, put together after almost a year-long preparation, with the programs carefully selected and heavily censored, served the purpose of propagandizing the ruling regime’s accomplishments over the past year while entertaining the audience.

At CCTV’s official website that hosted the program, a subtitle identified Glenn as a student of the Confucius Institute, a language-teaching facility sponsored and driven by the Chinese government. According to the Confucius Institute’s website, since 2004 it has launched over 300 Confucius Institutes and 500 Confucius Classrooms in five continents. The Revolutionary Opera Piece, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, is one of the eight Revolutionary operas, or model operas, (Chinese: 样板戏; pinyin: yàngbǎnxì) planned and engineered during the Cultural Revolution by Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong’s wife. They are commonly viewed as typical propaganda pieces for the Communist Party.

Source: China Central Television, February 10, 2013