July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party
(Official English website). Since 1979, China has been on a course of economic reform
, first initiated by Deng Xiaoping
, who climbed from disgrace during the Cultural Revolution to lead China away from a communist economy. Now, however, with the anniversary of the Party coming up, at least in Chongqing
, the fastest growing city
on the planet which 32 million people call home, the East may once again be Red.
The local television station
has stopped playing sitcoms and is now showing only "revolutionary" programs--including "Red Star Over China" which it is exclusively premiering. The local propaganda group has set up a "red" twitter feed
, the Party Secretary in Chongqing, and a Politburo member, has brought back the old slogans, and has used "Red SMS"
to transmit the sayings of Chairman Mao to the people of Chongqing since 2009.
Xilai's drive mirrors the larger "Red Culture"
initiative of the Chinese government. The movement includes a "Red Olympics
" complete with "storming the blockhouse" and other military-style events.
Other changes reminiscent of the past are more ominous, however. Xilai also initiated a "Strike Hard" campaign aimed at ridding Chongqing of "gangsters." Bejing University Law Professor He Weifang condemned the "the furious unfolding of movement-style (运动式) law enforcement and administration of justice."
in his "A Letter to the Legal Professionals in Chongqing." According to Weifang, local authorities resorted to collaboration between prosecutors and judges to decide the cases ahead of time and apply “Chongqing speed” (重庆速度) to the administration of justice.