Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Cultural Security" in China

Chinese officials once again made headlines with rhetoric about "cultural security". Since the banning of some western pop music titles last August and the October meeting of the Party Central Committee, the phrase "cultural security" has appeared in English language publications of news on China. Today, Hu Jintao reportedly indicated that the West and China are engaged in a "cultural war", and China's cultural integrity should be defended.
The rhetoric seems not only to suggest culture as a battlefield but also to stake claim to the concept of "cultural security", and therein lies a contradiction. Identifying culture as medium for conflict automatically has implications for the meaning of "cultural security" beyond simply securing national culture from external influence. Is culture transforming from a cause of conflict into an instrument of war?
The image shows the "Backstreet Boys'" whose music achieved popularity in the 1990s, while more recent music by artists such as "Lady Gaga" also fell subject to banning in China.

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