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Xi Jinping’s Red Lines for Art and Literature

Recently, Xi Jinping drew some red lines for the art and literature in China. In addition to “spreading contemporary Chinese values and telling China’s stories well,” he instructed that art and literature should not take the “vulgar” route, and “cannot be tainted with the stink of money and be the slaves of the market.”

On Tuesday December 14, Xi, as well as other Politburo Standing Committee members, spoke at the congresses of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (CFLAC) and the China Writers Association (CWA), where he gave the above instructions to the delegates.

CFLAC is an umbrella organization composed of nationwide associations of writers and artists in various fields. Although CFLAC claims it is a non-governmental organization whose mission “is to unite and serve writers and artists, to train literary and art talents, and to promote the development and prosperity of literature and the arts,” It is under the direct leadership of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department. With a national, provincial, and city-level hierarchical organization structure, CFLAC aims to control millions of Chinese writers and artists so that their work toes the Party line. CWA is a subordinate organization of CFLAC.

At the congress, Xi expressed the hope that “the vast number of artists, remember their mission …  and make new and greater contributions for the comprehensive construction of a modernized socialist country and the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Peng Liyuan, Xi’s wife and Vice President of CFLAC, was also sitting on the podium alongside other Politburo Standing Committee members.

Xi drew some red lines for art and literature work. “Literature and art should be popular, but should never be vulgar; be lifelike, but not promote unhealthy culture; be innovative, but not engage in strange and ridiculous things; it should be rewarding, but not be tainted with the stink of money or be the slaves of the market.”

Source: People’s Daily, December 15, 2021