China deploys singers, actors to assert sea claims
BEIJING — China’s military has dispatched ships and planes — even constructed new islands to assert its maritime claims. Now it’s deploying a new set of tools to uphold Chinese sovereignty: Magicians, singers and actors.
Famed singer of patriotic anthems Song Zuying headlined a tour of China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea’s Spratly islands this week, underscoring Beijing’s confidence in asserting its increasingly dominant position in the disputed region.
The performance, entitled “The People’s Navy Advances,” included songs, skits and magic tricks, part of a long tradition of the People’s Liberation Army art troops putting on shows to entertain, promote ideological conformity and stir public pride in the military and ruling Communist Party.
Among the songs performed: “Ode to the South Sea Defenders,” whose lyrics speak of “a troop of stout men with guns in their hands who battle the wind and fight the waves to guard the nation’s door.” “On stilted platforms in the South Sea, (China’s) five-starred red flag flaps in the wind, I’ve tasted all types of bitterness in the South Sea, (but) the people’s happiness is my pride and glory,” the song continues.
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