- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Inside China: Military entertainers
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) operates a large “entertainment corps” known for its extraordinary privilege, unique access to power elites and wasteful extravagance. Now President Xi Jinping is vowing to tighten controls on military entertainers.
Created as part of ideological indoctrination and political propaganda efforts inside the PLA, the entertainment corps has become a key arm of the Communist Party’s control over combat troops who are required to perform songs and dances and in concerts and stage plays that conform to party dogma.
But the role of indoctrination for PLA entertainers has mutated over the years.
Communist Party founder Mao Zedong was notorious for womanizing military singers and dancers. A recent memoir by a former air force chief revealed that during much of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the most powerful people in the air force were two of Mao’s mistresses, both from the air force’s Song and Dance Troupe.
In addition, several current leading female military entertainers are widely rumored to be mistresses of senior party leaders.
The public has reacted with outrage and ridicule, amid growing popular resentment against the privileges of high-profile military entertainers.
A case in point is the current gang-rape trial involving the 17-year-old son of a high-level tenor named Li Shuangjiang. Trial details leaked from the courtroom have fueled anger on the street over privileged military entertainers and their relatives.
Some entertainers use their status to profit from performances at expensive public concerts and private parties for the rich and powerful. Others perform in uniform at bars, private clubs and hotels for illicit money.
“The Regulation on Regulating Large-Scale Entertainment Performances and Strengthening the Management of Entertainment Corps” was published last week and promulgated by the PLA’s General Political Department. It states that “no military entertainers shall be allowed to perform acts detrimental to the image of our army and our soldiers, to take part in any performances at private parties, singing parlors and bars, and to perform abroad without special permission.”
The regulation also bans high-ranking entertainers from calling themselves “general” or “admiral.”
Under PLA rules on rank and designations, officers in uniform are classified into two main categories — regular military and “civilian cadres.” Senior military entertainers fall into the “civilian cadres” category but wear uniforms virtually identical to those of regular officers.
Because of this, some “civilian cadres” have abused their status. They often are referred to in public as “civilian general” or “civilian admiral,” prompting resentment from inner circles of the PLA hierarchy and the public.
“[Military entertainers] should voluntarily purify the environment in which they work, live and make friends,” the regulation says.
Many think Mr. Xi’s move is based on the urging of his wife, Peng Liyuan, China’s glamorous first lady and a true believer in the PLA mission. She is the most senior military entertainer in the nation.
Ms. Peng, 50, an accomplished soprano and folk singer, is the superintendent of the PLA’s Academy of Arts, the primary training ground for military entertainers.
• Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at email@example.com and @yu_miles.
About the Author
Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Inside China: Long march to Africa
- Inside China: With wounding of editor, press freedom under physical attack in Hong Kong
- Inside China: Chinese leaders use history to serve Communist Party
- Inside China: High-level official from Taiwan first to meet with Chinese officials in 65 years
- Inside China: Beijing prefers the world to think WWII not WWI in terms of rising tensions
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again