Translation: Xi Jinping on Literature, Art, and Politics after Tiananmen

The following essay by Xi Jinping, then the Chinese Communist Party chief of Ningde, was penned shortly after the crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Washington Post reporter Eva Dou, who came across the essay in a Fujian library, writes how it hints at ‘how the first serious crisis of [Xi’s] career may have informed his worldview’.

In his sweeping criticism of the relationship between literature, art, and politics, Xi writes that, ‘We must oppose those who, under the guise of freedom of creation, use literature and art as a political tool to promote bourgeois liberalization, and repudiate the lines, directives, and policies of the Party and negate the leadership of the Party.’

In his reference to ‘foot washing and egg hatching’, Xi specifically critiques the China Avant-Garde exhibition at Beijing’s National Art Museum, where an incident involving a gun, as Alex Colville writes, ‘was instantly immortalized, swept up in the social and political hurricanes of 1989, and all the interpretations that came with it’. 

Check out Eva Dou’s Twitter thread for more details on the essay.

Xi Jinping: On the Relationship between Literature and Art and Politics
论文艺与政治的关系

Xi Jinping
习近平