SHANGHAI: Citizens across China are being corralled into cinemas to watch a film extolling the Communist Party and Xi Jinping, as an intensifying personality cult around the 64-year-old leader hits the big screen.
The mass viewings by staff from companies and government agencies have catapulted the movie, called Amazing China and released March 2, into the ranks of the country’s top box-office earners.
State media reported that it was already the country’s highest-grossing “documentary” ever.
The film, produced by state broadcaster CCTV and a government film group, fawns over China’s achievements in science, technology, industry and poverty reduction since Xi took power in 2012, and the mobilisation of movie-goers underlines his increasing dominance of public life.
“Most of us are from a state tobacco company. We all came together,” said a woman who was among hundreds of viewers at a Shanghai cinema that was, unusually for a weekday, sold out.
“It’s a very patriotic movie and contains much of our party’s doctrine, so it’s our duty to watch it,” she said cheerfully.
The timing of the release of the film, distributed by Alibaba Pictures, is no accident.
China’s annual parliament meeting opened in Beijing on March 5 and on Sunday, the Communist-controlled legislature voted to abolish presidential term limits, paving the way for indefinite rule by Xi, who has rapidly become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
The move, which has prompted fears of a budding dictatorship, is part of an accelerating drive by Xi to accumulate power as he pushes his long-term plans to propel China to superpower status. — AFP