Bloomberg News

Hu Says West Is Trying to Divide China by Using Cultural Weapons

January 04, 2012

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The West is using cultural means to divide China, which needs to be alert to this threat, President Hu Jintao said in a Communist Party magazine.

“International forces are trying to Westernize and divide us by using ideology and culture,” Hu wrote in an article in Qiushi. “We need to realize this and be alert to this danger.”

Many countries, especially Western powers, are attempting to expand their influence through cultural hegemony, and China must deepen and promote its own values of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Hu wrote in the article, which was published on the government’s website on Jan 1. China needs to strengthen its cultural values as it faces possible challenges from the West, he said.

Hu’s comments are part of a wider push by the party to reassert its influence over Chinese culture and society, including in television and the arts. China’s leaders are grappling with the best way to manage Twitter-like social-media sites such as Sina Corp.’s Weibo service that are hard for government censors to control.

The Communist Party’s Central Committee said it will supervise the world’s biggest online community more closely, promote “constructive” websites and punish the spread of “harmful information,” according to a communique from its Oct. 15-18 meeting released by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Members of the party’s Politburo visited web companies after a deadly train crash in July. Internet users criticized the government’s handling of the crash and spread commentary and photos of the accident at odds with the official line.

Competitive Edge

The Central Committee’s communique also focused on television, with the Communist Party vowing to “promote more fine literary and artistic works” in fields such as television, movies and photography.

That coincided with an announcement that new limits would be imposed on the number of “overly entertaining and vulgar” reality and talent shows aired on television. Starting this year, the nation’s 34 satellite channels must limit themselves to two such programs every week, according to an Oct. 25 statement on China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s website.

In a globalized world in which people are exposed to many ideologies and values, the country with the most cultural influence will gain a competitive advantage, Hu wrote.

--Liza Lin. Editors: Peter Hirschberg, Shiyin Chen

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Liza Lin in Shanghai at llin15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net


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