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City cleansed of Bo's legacy

world Updated: Apr 27, 2012 23:44 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Sutirtho Patranobis

Mao Zedong is revered in China but sacked leader Bo Xilai's style of running the southwestern city of Chongqing in tune with some of Mao's populist and campaign-style policies had left many in the Communist leadership uneasy, contributing to his ouster.

In his last speech to the National People's Congress, the Parliament, Premier Wen Jiabao had warned that lack of political reforms could trigger another Cultural Revoultion; a day later, Bo was sacked as Chongqing mayor and later charged with indiscipline.

In the rapid unraveling of the Bo Xilai saga, which opened up a can of money, murder and intrigue in the run-up to the leadership change in autumn, it is clear that the government is busy furiously cleansing Chongqing of every possible mark left by Bo. His ideas of Mao-era sloganeering and public choir singing are also disappearing from the city.

"It's been just over a month since Bo Xilai was dismissed as the Party chief in Chongqing, and already the city has turned a much lighter shade of red," read the first line of a story in Global Times, a newspaper from the stable of the government mouthpiece, People's Daily.

Bo had ordered a daily dose of narratives on socialist ideals to be broadcast on television; soap operas have replaced them.

"Large banners spouting Mao-era slogans have been removed. Daily TV broadcasts that continually heralded the glories of orthodox socialist ideals are being replaced with modern soap operas. No longer are choirs being required to perform bygone red songs in parks around the city," it said.

The article said: "Bo and the city he ran had also become famous for being oddly out of step with modern China for reviving public performances of red songs meant to conjure the glorious days of a more innocent, egalitarian past. The problem was they were not spontaneous reveries led by entirely willing participants."

"Days after Bo was ousted, He Shizhong, the chief of publicity department of Chongqing, announced that organised, mass sing-along events would be curtailed."