February 18th, 2015

The East is red


"..The annual event, which organizers claim reaches 90 percent of Chinese families and more than 700 million viewers, is a collection of performances and skits that are tightly choreographed and vetted by the Communist Party. Toward the end of this year’s broadcast on February 18, singers Mo Hualun and Lu Wei joined a university choir to sing a new song entitled “Give My Heart to You” in an effusively patriotic tone that’s long been typical of the gala. Less typical, however, is what happened a minute into the performance when a waving Chinese flag in the background video gave way to triumphant imagery of the president.

The remainder of the performance is devoted exclusively to video of Xi that includes him meeting ecstatic youth, glad-handing with rural residents, and eating with soldiers in a frigidly cold outpost. While similar flattering imagery of top leaders has long been a mainstay of CCTV news broadcasts, it's rare that this imagery is brought together in such a musical montage at a high-profile event like the New Year's gala. The song itself appears directed at the Chinese “motherland” as a whole, though the way Xi is presented center stage leaves it ambiguous who exactly the source of love is and who it is directed at."

If you get CCTV-9 (the English CCTV channel) the 'spring festival' gala tends to be the headline - CCTV is as fond of bigging itself up as the BBC