AP PHOTOS: Banners herald China’s Communist Party congress
BEIJING (AP) — As China’s ruling Communist Party kicks off its twice-a-decade national congress this week, buildings, bridges and construction sites around Beijing have been festooned with banners heralding the party’s merits and its goal of realizing the “Chinese Dream” of greater prosperity.
While the party routinely deploys television and the Internet to broadcast its message, it falls back on more traditional means for important occasions in hopes of boosting interest in political developments. The medium resonates especially with older Chinese who experienced the political campaigns of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, which sought to mobilize the masses for economic and political ends.
The modern banners feature golden yellow Chinese characters emblazoned on deep red backgrounds extolling the virtues of socialism and the future vision of the party’s leader, President Xi Jinping, who will be granted a second five-year term as general secretary at the congress, which starts Wednesday.
Xi is cementing his status as China’s most powerful leader in decades, having ushered in an increasingly authoritarian style of government that promises stability, rising global status and improved quality of life, while locking up critics and suppressing independent civil society.
Despite the propaganda push, however, most Beijing residents evince little interest in the banners and slogans, preferring to focus on jobs, family and the latest Internet trends.