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History as Propaganda

Background Information
A painting showing Mao in Yan’an at the National Art Museum in Beijing. Questions about historical events are now punishable by law. History in China is not just about political legitimacy. It is an instrument of political control.

Recent changes to the country’s criminal code made slander of the country’s heroes and martyrs, as defined by the Communist Party, punishable by up to three years in prison.Since March, the code has been used repeatedly to stifle questions about historical events that were once open to debate and research. Those include the revolution that gave birth to the People’s Republic of China and, more recently, a clash with Indian troops in 2020 along the disputed border in the Himalayas, where at least four Chinese soldiers died.

It has been used to jail prominent bloggers and journalists but also ordinary citizens. The intent is clearly to send a very public warning against deviating from party orthodoxy. A Chinese government directive issued this week ordered officials to ensure that memorial parks and other sites commemorating party martyrs are well maintained.The weaponization of history comes out of an authoritarian playbook that other countries have also used to police dissent. Only weeks after the law in China was toughened, Russia made it a crime to slander veterans of World War II, a historical event that President Vladimir V. Putin has placed at the core of his political legitimacy.
Technique Used
Simplify Ideas
This is propaganda because
This effort is part of a larger political strategy to give Mr. Xi greater political power and to stifle his critics.


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