Chinese sing the songs of Chairman Mao's day (3)

13:49, June 30, 2011      

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Red revival

Red songs, along with other symbols of Mao's era, gradually faded in history after Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping unleashed the sweeping market reforms in the late 1970s, phrasing out the planned economy that drove China in its first two decades.

Today, few of the younger generation can hum the rhythms that their communist forefathers sang to win the revolution that resulted in the founding of the People's Republic in 1949.

While some were caught off-guard by the sudden revival of the red songs, the party said the red campaign was launched for specific reasons.

Wang Xiaohui, vice director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at a press conference last Thursday that the popular red song performances do not signal an ideological return to the past.

"Today we have a very rich and diverse culture, and some like red songs, while others like pop songs," Wang said. "But this year is a special occasion for citizens to get together and remember the revolutionary martyears who helped to create the nation as it is today."

But Yu Jianrong, head of the Center for Social Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a cultural campaign to arouse revolutionary enthusiasm in the public might face significant difficulties in today's China.

Already, some of the campaign propaganda that seems to have gone to the extreme were ridiculed by the public.

An online post that referenced a local newspaper's article that touted the "medically curing effect" of singing red songs was attacked by Internet users who felt the post distorted the article. According to the newspaper, a cancer patient in Chongqing endured the pains of the chemotherapy by singing red songs.

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