One of my children told me yesterday that his part of the internet was lit up with people complaining that the Chinese government's crackdown on "sissy men" in entertainment is "fascism." Sample comment: "now I finally understand the Chinese, they're fascists."
But of course they are nothing of the kind. Communism has its own awful history of oppression for oppression's sake, and it has often been wrapped up with moral crusades. The admiration for communism among young Americans is disturbing, and perhaps ought to be fought more vigorously. But it is not nearly as disturbing as what is going on in China.
I just put this article on the links page for this week but now it seems so important I'm going to give it a longer treatment. This is from an anonymous Chinese writer:
I think the CCP is widening its dictatorship under the veil of / through its social morality cultivation in various aspects these days, and that it bans "娘炮" ["sissy men", but actually a highly vulgar term–jcb] from the entertainment industry functions as one of its schemes to instill the antecedent atmosphere. . . .
In early July, almost all WeChat accounts of LGBT student organizations in China were shut down (including the accounts run by students of Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, and Nanjing University, among others). Many online feminist groups were deleted. Earlier this year, the Chinese education ministry issued a notice, suggesting that Chinese young men are becoming increasingly "feminine", encouraging schoolboys to be more "manly". Besides its gender ideology, the CCP has been imposing stringent curbs recently on the entertainment industry, showbiz, celebrity fandom, teenager's videogames time restrictions, compulsory education, extracurricular training restrictions, etc. The China Writers Association also issued specific guidelines to "strengthen professional ethics and sense of social responsibility among writers" last week.
I'm afraid a new round of Cultural Revolution, perhaps less obvious, is going on. The CCP's boycott of / clampdown on "sissy men"/ 娘炮 is part of it.
This inspired Victor Mair of Language Log to ponder another term much used in official Chinese circles lately, "fēi-Dènghuà 非邓化" , which might be translated de-Deng-ization or de-Deng-ification. What would this turn against the memory of Deng Xiaoping signify?
It seems to imply a new view of Chinese history, raising up Mao and glorifying the Cultural Revolution. It certainly implies a more aggressive foreign policy. More:
Deng de-politicized Chinese social life. Xi is now imposing Mao-style political campaigns onto everyday life. "Political studies" of the Mao era once again have become a daily requirement. Communist party branches are being established in private businesses. The limited social space allowed under Deng has been drastically reduced. . . .
Xi has started the "third redistribution" by suppressing large private businesses and taking / extracting wealth from various rich people, most notably Jack Ma, but there are many others. I personally know several honorable Chinese citizens of moderate wealth in the PRC who have had their entire wealth stripped from them and were thrown into prison on extremely dubious charges (actually no just charges at all) and who are rotting in prison.
In essence, Xi wants to reestablish Mao-style state / party control of every aspect of social life and activity. We all know the economic consequences of this kind of state socialism.
Scary. And this is all within the Han Chinese core, without even getting into what's going on in Xinjiang. I have tried to be sanguine about events in China under Xi, because for all their bluster he and his people seemed basically sane. Now I worry they are headed down a dark road and taking their country with them.