Xi’s just not that into you


Add The People’s Daily to the cadres of those who hate Valentine’s Day, according to the South China Morning Post.

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But don’t blame it on curmudgeonry, blame it on corruption — apparently, Cupid and cupidity go hand in hand:

A four-paragraph story in People’s Daily said Valentine’s Day had become a hatchery of decadent ideology, indulgent lifestyle, fraud and corruption for some party members who squandered money indulging their lovers.

It went on to say that such a trend had been seen among some senior party members, including disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai, former railways minister Liu Zhijun and former Shanghai party secretary Chen Liangyu, who all kept mistresses or had illicit affairs with many women.

The writer then asked why such a romantic holiday in the West, where lovers presented flowers, offered chocolates and sent greeting cards, had transformed into a breeding ground for corruption when it reached the mainland. The problem was cadres who had abandoned communist beliefs, the article said, breaking their party oath and betraying the cause.

Ahem, paging James Fallows.

I cannot find the story on the People’s Daily English website, only a piece that seemed to welcome the fact that the Spring Festival surrounding Lunar New Year coincides with Valentine’s Day, giving business a boost:

Any concerns that Valentine’s Day clashing with the Spring Festival 
holiday might hurt business have been allayed as both retailers and 
restaurateurs report good turnover. It could even be said 
that the two dates are perfect partners and suit 
each other down to the ground.

It’s quite true that Xi Jinping (习近平), the secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party  (中国共产党) and the incoming president of the People’s Republic of China, has made waves recently in a speech stating that opposing corruption will be a top priority of his incoming administration — he pledged to pursue both ‘tigers’ and ‘flies’ (in other worlds, both top Party officials and rank-and-file bureaucrats) guilty of corruption.

But perhaps this is taking things a little too far?

Meanwhile, with the United States pursuing a free trade agreement both with the European Union and, through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with South American and East Asian nations, maybe it’s time for China to send a valentine to the European Union to discuss its own bilateral trade agreement.

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