President Xi Jinping paid tribute to two bloggers known for their nationalist and anti-western writings as he urged artists to “serve the people and the socialist cause”.
Speaking at a conference on art and literature in Beijing on Wednesday, Xi praised Zhou Xiaoping and Hua Qianfang for their “positive” thoughts.
Zhou, 33, and Hua, 36, are pro-establishment writers who have published many articles praising the Communist Party and its leadership, Apple Daily reported.
The newspaper said some scholars have raised questions about the purpose of the highly publicized conference, which was hosted by Xi himself, saying that it could part of the Chinese leader’s efforts to build a personality cult around himself.
The conference calls to mind a similar gathering back in 1942 in Yan’an, Shaanxi province, where Mao Zedong declared that the purpose of art is to serve the masses and artists must learn from the people.
Among those who attended Wednesday’s affair were film directors Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang, writers Wang Meng and Mo Yan, and actor Chen Daoming.
During the conference, Xi sought out Zhou and Hua, and praised them for their online writings.
But some netizens were not impressed with Xi’s choice of model writers. They pointed out that Zhou was detained by public security officers in 2009 for operating a website with pornographic content, the report said.
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