Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, September 09, 2016

Dancing or pledging?

Would you rather perform a political dance or stand and pledge allegiance?

China’s ‘Core Socialist Values,’ the Song-and-Dance Version
The 12 “core socialist values” are memorized by schoolchildren, featured in college entrance exams, printed on stamps and lanterns, and splashed on walls across China. Now they have made their way into 20 song-and-dance routines… to promote to the country’s millions of “square dancers,” the mostly middle-aged and older women who gather in public squares to perform in unison.

At a news conference kicking off the campaign on Tuesday, a dozen women in white pants and chartreuse shirts bounced and twirled to the lyrics of one of the songs: “Freedom, equality, helping one another! Patriotism, dedication, everyone loves it!”

Freedom, equality, patriotism and dedication are four of the values enshrined in 2012 at the 18th Communist Party Congress. The other values in the set of 12, which are written using 24 Chinese characters, are prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, justice, rule of law, integrity and friendship…

Tang Zuobin, an official at the Hunan Culture Department, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the province was preparing 10,000 textbooks accompanied with videos of the dances for distribution across China…

Mr. Tang said that the popularity of square dancing made it an ideal vehicle for the propagation of the core socialist values.

But not everyone in China has embraced the idea of either square dancing or the core socialist values.

There have long been complaints in China about square-dance music blaring near people’s homes…

Many other online commenters have mocked the routines as a form of “loyalty dance,” performed during the Cultural Revolution to show fealty to Mao Zedong…

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