Why Chongqing’s Red Culture Campaign Was not a Real Mass Campaign

  • Xiao MeiEmail author


This paper addresses the question of whether Chongqing’s Red culture campaign (2008–2012) was a real mass campaign. Drawing upon Baudrillard’s concept of simulation, it discusses the extent to which Chongqing’s Red culture campaign can be characterized as the simulation of a traditional Maoist mass campaign. This paper argues that instead of being a real mass campaign, the Red culture program exhibited the following critical features of simulation—the procession of a model of the real, the liquidation of referentials, and the constitution of a self-induced and monolithic circuit of power. Firstly, the operation of Chongqing’s Red culture campaign followed an established model of the ideal revolutionary mass campaign. The activities therefore did not follow their own trajectories but were organized to fit in the preexisting model. Secondly, the Red culture campaign was a process during which signs were emptied of their representational meaning. The definition of Red was expanded to include all songs that were considered “healthy” and “positive.” As a result, it stopped referring to any specific concept of political ideology. Thirdly, Chongqing’s Red culture program demonstrated characteristics of a self-induced and nondialectical power circuit. The program did not exchange meaning with the audience of the program. Rather, the exchange of signs took place within the territory of an imagined singular political power. To think of the Red culture campaign not as a mass campaign but possibly the simulation of a mass campaign, this paper examines a distinctive set of power relations that were embedded in Chongqing’s controversial political program and aims to facilitate a better understanding of the organization of political power in the current Chinese society.


Chongqing Red culture Simulation Chinese politics 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BeijingChina

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