After you watch enough CCTV (China Central Television) or read enough Xinhua “news” agency press releases (one of the principal sources of Chinese information for Western journalists in China – go figure), you begin to recognise a handful of mass-produced phrases as the essential ingredients of every product churned out by China’s Propaganda Department, now euphemistically called in English the “Publicity Department”. They changed the English translation from “Propaganda” to “Publicity” because they finally figured out that in the West there is – or at least used to be – a widespread belief that propaganda makes people stupid. Just like advertising and “public relations”. In a way, it’s true that the name change is a distinction without a difference.
At any rate, one of the Propaganda Department’s essential phrases is, “happy life”. It ranks perhaps third or fourth among those stock phrases, as in the following bit about the “happy life” of the Uighurs of Xinjiang who happily are prohibited from practising their ancient religion of Islam or teaching it to their children, and their happy life is cultivated all the more by confiscation of their passports:
Chi Chongqing [Party Sec’y Xinjiang Tourism Admin], “This activity is a good opportunity to show the prosperity and stability of Xinjiang, as well as the peaceful and happy life of its people.”
Then I remembered a special Ren and Stimpy cartoon, and realised, “Hey, the Propaganda Department ain’t so bad! Ren and Stimpy work for it! And as they’re both good North Americans, we ought to take the words and messages and implications of North American “public relations” agents in China a BIT more seriously, yeah?
Click the green link below, green in remembrance of the religion of the Uighurs, as green is the traditional colour of Islam, one of the religions the Propaganda Department is striving hard to exterminate. Here are Ren and Stimpy, good North Americans working for China’s Central Propaganda Department: