On July 6, prominent Taiwanese artist Zhou Jielun published a new song titled “Greatest Works of Art” on YouTube, sparking many heated debates. On July 15, several Chinese netizens took advantage of the song’s success to voice their displeasure. According to Vision Times, the Weibo accounts of these users were later removed because the content was suspected of referring to Xi Jinping.
“After hearing Zhou Jielun’s new song, I can only advise my closest friend that, when one is going to retire, it is preferable to depart with dignity, so you can save your face and everyone’s pleased, right?” said one Weibo user.
This netizen went on: “Dear buddy, you simply remain and don’t go, do something now and then, and arrogantly believe you’ve done a terrific job. Everyone can give you a little face and win your heart for a short while, but do you see anybody who does not privately chastise you, who does not make fun of you at home and abroad? My pal, go down.”
According to Vision Times, even though this netizen appears to have utilized metaphors to evade censorship, many netizens still understood the genuine meaning of the essay. “Don’t you think I don’t know who you’re talking about!” they said.
However, the relevant post was quickly removed, and a search of the netizen’s account found that “the user does not exist.”
In 1982, China enacted a new constitution that stated that the president and vice president may not serve more than two consecutive terms. However, the CCP’s National People’s Congress endorsed a draft constitutional revision removing this clause in 2018. Outsiders regarded the CCP’s decision at the time as paving the way for Xi Jinping’s “indefinite” reign.
According to the BBC, former top leader Deng Xiaoping was limited to two terms in the top leadership position to avoid the re-emergence of a figure like Mao Zedong. The latter ruled China for nearly three decades. Still, this limit was removed to allow Xi Jinping to stay in power for as long as possible—a significant shift in Chinese political history.
The BBC reports that many people in authority do not want Xi to follow in Mao’s footsteps but have no ability or chance to stop him. Certain mandatory conditions must be met for this to occur, including a political mechanism (e.g., National Congress of Deputies); a state of emergency (for example, an epidemic affecting the economy); a failure to respond to the epidemic. Or having enough party members that the risks of allowing Xi to take power outweigh the risks of opposing him.
On July 19, news commentator Chen Pokong posted on his media channel about the incident involving Zhou Jielun’s song “Greatest Works of Art,” saying that Mr. Xi Jinping’s favorite song should be Zhou Huajian’s “Really Don’t Want To Go,” because the lyrics say: “The truth is, I don’t want to go, I want to stay by your side every spring, summer, autumn, and winter.”
Some netizens are concerned about singer Zhou Jielun, tweeting cautiously, “Don’t attack Jielun with delicate remarks,” “If you know, don’t speak, if you don’t know, don’t ask,” and “simply let him live.”
Some Twitter users evaluated Zhou Jielun’s recent album and tweeted sarcastically based on the justifications used by the Chinese regime to criticize it: The two songs, “Greatest Works of Art” and “Mojito,” plainly praise Europe, the United States, and overseas admirers; while the song “Still Wandering” blatantly breaches a particular country’s epidemic prevention laws. The song “Won’t Cry” is not very macho (violating the Beijing regime’s requirement that male musicians be masculine), and the lyric “increases anger” in “If You Don’t Love Me, It’s Fine” is sardonic. The title of the song “Waiting For You To Finish School” appears to be an inference, appearing to be waiting for someone to go down, and the song “Pink Ocean” satirizes a specific country with too much patriotism.
JesseYan5, a network member, stated that after posting a similar but prohibited screenshot, he commented on Twitter, emphasizing that he had just sent it to the group, but then received a message from WeChat, which he accessed and saw that the “group has been banned for 24 hours.”