I guess it’s only fair the ABC steal ideas from me, given how much I borrow from them! To wit, my recent blog on the cultural revolution in China, replete with cute panda allegory for soft power, was fleshed out today by China correspondent Bill Birtles.

Birtles knows his China.

In August 2020, China began detaining foreign journos, and seven police officers visited Birtles’ apartment and menaced him. Birtles fled to the embassy, where he agreed to be interviewed by Chinese authoritites in exchange for permission to repatriate. He has of course written a book about his ‘ordeal’.

Birtles is an authority on Emperor Xi, or as the totipotent leader himself prefers to be known, Grandpa Xi. Introduced into school curricula this week, ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ is now doctrine. The pedagogic textbook rivals Kim Jong-Unicorn for corniness: “Grandpa Xi always cares about us!” it lies.

Tell it to the Uyghurs.

While indictrination works for the young, Grandpa Xi is finding the adult mind less malleable, especially the young-adult. Hence the crackdown on niang pao or ‘sissy’ men, males wearing earrings and visible tattoos, flooding the media with their ‘warped content.’ I’m not sure what standard of manliness Grandpa Xi promotes, but it’s sure to be hilarious.

While it’s not spelled out this explicitly, it seems Grandpa Xi may be a homophobe.

Which is a break from tradition, given his country’s proud history of roaring gayness. Emperor Ai preferred a bit of buggery. The King of Wei enjoyed the wang of Lord Long Yang. Granpa Xi is just stoking frustration with all this hypermasculine propaganda. You can’t fight nature. Gay will out.

So mind-controlling infants and repressing gays, cowing celebrities and bringing business to heel. Will it work?

The problem is that China and the Chinese have had a taste of Western life. They’ve seen it on their screens. Their dreams are filled with the freedoms Westerners take for granted. Do you think one man, even one as powerful as Xi, can force back the tide of Western cultural imperialism after it’s already hit the beach?

I think not.

Grandpa Xi thinks he can save China by putting his finger in the dike. The only problem is, he doesn’t believe in dykes, and his countrymen want their Happy Meals.

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