China has seen the death of a number of veteran artists at the beginning of 2023.

A commonality of these artists is that they all sang praises for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and helped it brainwash the Chinese people.

Li Yunqiu

Li Yunqiu, a Peking Opera performer, died on Jan. 3 at the age of 89.

Born in a family of opera actors and actresses, Li played female roles in Peking Opera. In 1964, she played the role of Han’s mother in the opera “Red Guards on Honghu Lake”.

“Red Guards on Honghu Lake” is a six-act opera created by the Hubei Experimental Opera Troupe in the 1950s, which portrays a false depiction of the CCP’s peasant army in Hubei and Hunan provinces in the 1930s. A song in the opera, “Honghu Waters, Wave upon Wave” borrowed the tune of the folk song, “Xianghe Ballad.” Since the tune itself is beautiful and catchy, the song is widely circulated and included in the “Red Songs” series by the CCP as propaganda for the Chinese people.

Luo Nianyi

Luo Nianyi, who composed the red song “The Laundry Song,” died in Chengdu, China, on Jan. 2 at the age of 90.

Luo, a CCP member, who joined the Red Army in 1949 and served as a band director in the army’s art troupe. Luo composed many red songs during his lifetime. His representative works include “Beautiful Tibet, My Homeland” and “The Laundry Song”.

“Beautiful Tibet, My Homeland” boasts and whitewashes the CCP’s rule over Tibet, while “The Laundry Song” touts the CCP army as the savior, encouraging Tibetans to wash their clothes in return.

Many melodic folk songs in various parts of China were recomposed into red songs by the CCP with “new lyrics.” For example, the song “The East is Red,” which sings the praises of former communist leader Mao Zedong, is based on a folk song from northern Shaanxi called “White Horse Tune,” while the melody of “The Laundry Song” is taken from Tibetan folk music.

He De’li

He De’li, a folk singer in Tianjin, died of illness on Jan. 2 at the age of 76. He joined the CCP army’s performing arts propaganda team as a China allegro performer in the 1960s. After being demobilized in 1973, he cooperated with the CCP’s policy needs in different periods to create China allegro works.

For instance, the CCP called the mass unemployment of workers “leaving [their] posts,” so He wrote “Sail Away” to trick workers into helping themselves, and to publicize the CCP’s tax law, he wrote “Going to the Park.”

Wei Lian

Wei Lian, the director of the CCP’s propaganda film series “Decisive Victory,” died on Jan. 1 at the age of 78.

Wei, a CCP member, joined the feature film department of August First Film Studio in 1973 and directed multiple propaganda films for the Party throughout his life.

In 1981, Wei co-directed the film “Xu Mao and His Daughters.” Although the plot partly dealt with the disasters brought by the Cultural Revolution to China’s countryside, the story of a communist working team coming to “make things right” for the villagers whitewashed Mao’s and the CCP’s role during the Cultural Revolution.

Displayed is a scene from the “Red Detachment of Women”, a ballet of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

Art Used as a Propaganda Tool

Since the CCP’s rule of China, art has always been a powerful tool for brainwashing the Chinese people.

In The Epoch Times’ special series “How The Specter of Communism is Ruling Our World,” it is pointed out that the cultural performances of communist states are used to make the people forget the suffering under communist rule and cultivate loyalty to the communist regime. Such propaganda and brainwashing effects cannot be achieved even by the military.

“Communist parties know the power of art and they turn all art forms into tools for advancing their brainwashing,” reads the editorial.

“Many people have ridiculed the Chinese Communist Party for having singers and actors become military generals. They wonder how civilians who have never been trained in arms or warfare could be qualified to be generals,” it said.

“The CCP believes that these people are just as important as trained military personnel in promoting and upholding the communist cult—or perhaps even more crucial. In this sense, its military ranks conform perfectly with Party principles.”

Anne Zhang

Anne Zhang is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2014.

Angela Bright

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