China cranks propaganda, Xi Jinping's cult of personality into overdrive ahead of party congress

Business Insider | 10/12/2017 | Philip Wen and Christian Shepherd, Reuters
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Inside the packed exhibition hall in central Beijing is a showcase of China's recent achievements: the country's first operational aircraft carrier; a gleaming fleet of high-speed trains; happy villagers lifted from poverty.

While the display officially celebrates the accomplishments of the Chinese people over the past five years, it is made clear that President Xi Jinping is the man to thank.

Exhibition - Communist - Party - Propaganda - Department

To enter the exhibition, staged by the Communist Party's propaganda department, visitors pass through a circular antechamber with red walls emblazoned with slogans inspired by Xi's concepts on governance.

Hundreds of images of Xi adorn the walls in each of the exhibition's ten halls: in combat fatigues surveying the troops, holding court with foreign dignitaries, even showing his softer side by petting a baby elephant.

Contrast - Photographs - Party - Leaders - Spots

By contrast, photographs of other party leaders are much smaller and displayed in less prominent spots.

Even a dinner receipt for 160 yuan ($24.25) bearing Xi's name is on display, reflecting his frugality.

Alongside - Radio - Shows - Documentaries - Xi

Alongside radio shows and documentaries lauding Xi's achievements on state television, the exhibition is part of a propaganda push to bolster the stature of China's leader ahead of a key Communist Party Congress on Oct 18.

At the conclave, which takes place every five years, Xi is expected to further cement his status as the country's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

Party - Achievements - Events - Propaganda - Effort

Although it is typical for the party to sell its key achievements ahead of major events, the propaganda effort is the most effusive for a Chinese leader in years.

Xi is being lionized as the one responsible for China's recent successes, including an unswerving anti-corruption campaign, a buoyant economy and growing stature on the world stage.

Effort - Xi - Powers - Willy - Lam

The effort appears designed to justify Xi's expanded powers, said Willy Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In recent years, Xi has stamped his personal leadership...
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