A propaganda movie, promoted by the Chinese President himself, shows Marx agreeing with Confucius and both (not surprisingly) agreeing with Xi Jinping.
by Zhou Kexin
And now Xi Jinping wants you to go the movies. There is one film you should not miss. It is called “When Marx Met Confucius.” It had the great honor of being introduced to China at the National Conference on Propaganda, Thought, and Cultural Work, held on October 8 and 9 in Beijing under the presidency of Xi Jinping himself. The propaganda conference was aimed at launching “Xi Jinping’s Thought on Culture,” another installment of the never-ending series “Xi Jinping’s Thought on…,” aimed at proving that the President has a thought for everything.
To understand the movie, two premises are needed. The first is Xi Jinping’s promotion, including through a personal visit in 2020, of Yuelu Academy in Hunan as one of the oldest still functioning centres of higher learning in the world. It was established in the year 976 under the Song Dynasty as a center of Confucian culture. The second premise is the promotion by the same Xi Jinping of a short story by Communist writer Guo Moruo, “Marx Enters the Confucian Temple,” published in 1925. In the story, Marx meets Confucius, and they end up agreeing that Communism is basically compatible with Confucianism.
While attempts at marrying Marxism with Confucianism date back to the early 20th century, at the core of “Xi Jinping’s thought on culture” lies what he calls the “second combination” between Marx and Confucius, presented as much deeper and more persuasive than the first.
Thus, the movie “When Marx Met Confucius,” produced by Hunan Radio and Television and divided in five 30-minute episodes for TV broadcasting, reenacts Guo’s story on a virtual scene that reproduces Yuelu Academy. There, Marx and Confucius meet and talk, and answer questions by pupils.
Marx and Confucius agree that they fought against common enemies, including “historical nihilism,” which in CCP jargon is teaching history deviating from the authorities’ or the Party’s official interpretation, and foreign or “Western” cultural imperialism imposing to all peoples foreign models as universal (by which the CCP means human rights and Western-style democracy).
Mythical beings appear authenticating Confucius as a genuine representative of the excellent traditional Chinese culture, only to be superseded by Lenin, who tells Marx and Confucius that what was old and feudal in that culture should be discarded.
At the end, they both hail Xi Jinping’s “second combination” that has truly reconciled their respective thoughts into a new synthesis, where Confucianism is “the root” and Marxism is “the soul.”
Readers of “Bitter Winter” are familiar with the debates about the nature of Confucianism, and the CCP’s attempt to empty it of all spiritual elements, presenting Confucius’ teachings as an early form of atheism. It is not surprising that this counterfeit Confucius would agree with Marx. And that both Confucius and Marx would agree with Xi Jinping. After all, disagreeing with Xi Jinping is strictly forbidden in present-day China.