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Not fooled by self-criticism

BEIJING (AsiaNews): A campaign of criticism and self-criticism launched by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, in Hebei, has sparked both irony and anger from the inhabitants of cyberspace, who compare government clamps on corruption with “two children fighting without ever touching or, much ado about nothing.”

The campaign is one of the flagships of the new Chinese president, who imposed it on the 25 permanent members of the Politburo during a secret session.

The sessions on criticism and self-criticism were one of the key pillars of the policy Mao Zedong used, when he put it together with violence during the Cultural Revolution to purge even the great communist leaders—potential opponents of the president—who were accused of being bourgeois, counter-revolutionaries or revisionists.

Many religious leaders also paid dearly during the great purges. Xi is urging national officials to get back in step with the masses.

The secretary-general himself led the first public session at the Provincial Communist Commission of Hebei. During four consecutive afternoons, which began on September 23, Xi urged officials to denounce their political sins and those of their colleagues.

One of them later told Xinhua news agency, “While I was preparing my confession, I realised what kind of person I’ve become, and I started to cry.”

However, as an effort to clean up the image of the party before the eyes of the population at large, it falls short. A glance at the Internet shows people using controversy and irony to protect themselves against being impressed.

Weibo has become a popular stage of national discontent. One writes, “This campaign is a perfect example of bureaucracy for its own sake. Why not start criticising the size of their bank accounts and assets that they have in all of the country?”

On the lighter side, one woman compares Xi’s initiative to having her husband and lover in the same room at the same time.

The lover tells her husband to control his wife better. Another shows two young children, kitted out for taekwondo, flapping about trying to hit each other without success.


The caption reads, “Criticism and self-criticism are akin to much ado about nothing.”

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