I once spent a morning watching musical performances by ‘General’ Peng Liyuan, wife of Xi Jinping, and I found her and the other performers to be great. After decades of watching Chinese variety programs, I’ve come to appreciate these shows.
So, today when I saw one of Ms. Peng’s videos on my rss feed that was new to me, I watched immediately. Great costumes and dancing, and fine singing by the star. The lyrics weren’t too interesting. (‘Who is going to help us harvest barley?’) But, that’s the problem with a lot of patriotic songs. You probably need to be Chinese to get the full impact.
Or perhaps Tibetan. After watching, I read the description on the original post in Shanghaiist. Turns out I was watching ‘…the “Laundry Song”, a 50-year-old propaganda classic which purports to be sung by Tibetans desperate for the PLA and the Communist Party to liberate them.’ Okay. Missed that, either too dazzled by Ms. Peng or too dense.
Tibetan overseas website High Peaks Pure Earth:
The song tells the familiar Socialist narrative of the army and the people being one. For the Sino-Tibetan relationship though, the song puts the Tibetans firmly in a position of subservience, as natives, full of gratitude for the help of the benevolent People’s Liberation Army. The trope of washing clothes fits in also with the Socialist preoccupation with Patriotic Hygiene, [since] observing hygiene rules came to be seen as patriotic.
And, a final thought: ‘There have been 57 self-immolations by Tibetan protesters since February 2009.’
Needless to say, how you react to the video, armed with its meaning, depends on your stance here. For me, sure looked different the second time through. Have a look for yourself: