fredag 17. april 2020


The “loyalty dance,” or zhongziwu (忠字舞), was a collective dance that became prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, at a time when Mao Zedong and his image reigned supreme over all aspects of life in China. The dancers, grasping their copies of the “little red book,” Quotations From Chairman Mao, would dance, leap and shout to the impassioned ring of the music – all to express their boundless loyalty to the Chairman.

One slogan older Chinese may remember from that time, related to the loyalty dance, is the “Three Loyalties” (三忠于): loyalty to Chairman Mao; loyalty to Mao Zedong Thought; loyalty to Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. It is tempting to think of the loyalty dance and the “Three Loyalties” as relics of China’s political past. But in fact, there are unmistakable echoes in the present.

How, in Xi Jinping’s so-called “New Era,” does one dance the loyalty dance?

Last month, China Media Project wrote about how the top leader in the city of Wuhan stirred up trouble as he tried to signal his “gratitude” toward Xi Jinping, suggesting that the people of Wuhan, then still in recovering from the coronavirus epidemic, should undergo “gratitude education.” This leader, Wang Zhonglin, was previously the top Party official in the city of Jinan in Shandong province, and when official media recently reported the news of Wang’s replacement taking up his post, certain words caught my eye.