POLITICIANS introduced amendments to China's nascent civil code to make defaming “heroes and martyrs” of the ruling Communist Party a civil offence, as the leadership moves to strengthen its grasp on the history of the People's Republic.
One addition is the line: “Encroaching upon the name, portrait, reputation and honour of heroes and martyrs harms the public interest, and should bear civil liability.”
The deeds of revolutionary heroes and sacrifices of military martyrs are central to the Party's legitimacy, much of which is based on claims of great historic achievements, such as defeating Japan during the Second World War.
Academics who offer different interpretations of history which downplay the role of the Party and its heroes are labelled “historical nihilists”.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has emphasised the need for the party to have faith in its own version of history, pointing to the Soviet Union's collapse as a warning to cadres about what happens if revolutionary leaders are denounced.
The Party warned last year that a flood of online information is causing people to doubt the party and urged that the party do more to rebut “wrong” points of view.
President Xi Jinping, a word, please: ultimately false narratives crumble and dissolve of their own rot. So please be careful about which portions of the Chinese Communist narrative are actually, factually true, which is, of course, what you want to present.
One of the most interesting cautionary tales I can share, sir is that of the true story of Father Junipero Serra, one of the most brutal and blunt instruments of Spanish colonization to ever walk the formerly beautiful trails of early California, but who was nonetheless cannonised by the Catholic church, which viewed this man through a faux mystical miasma having almost nothing to do with the truth of what he did in California.
President Xi Jinping, you really don't want to go there... I'm just saying.