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China Urges Officials Not to Mix Art with Power
   2015-07-11 09:08:31    Xinhua      Web Editor: Yangyang

Gu Xin [File Photo: gywb.cn]

With the fall of another leading cultural figure, China has made clear that it is committed to root out corruption within literary and art circles.

China's top discipline watchdog has said that Gu Xin, a well-respected singer, as well as board chair and general manager of China Oriental Performing Arts Group (COPAG), was the subject of a graft investigation.

Gu, who also a national political advisor, was known as an iconic, albeit controversial, pioneer of cultural system reform.

It is alleged that Gu had engaged in a substantial amount of financial fraud to gain control COPAG, and his reform measures might be used as cover for power abuse and personal profit seeking, said Qi Shuyu, an expert on Chinese cultural reform.

According to the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), before Gu took office in 2010 the COPAG's books had a surplus of more than 70 million yuan (11.3 million U.S.dollars). Today, those same books show a deficit of more than 100 million yuan.

Corruption within the arts is no different to in any other field, said Wang Yukai, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

But it is relatively hard to detect and determine the nature of malpractice in the arts, as they hide it well, Wang said.

Often officials assume a title and use it to increase the value of their own work. One provincial calligraphy association has dozens of vice presidents, mostly local officials, according to the CCDI.

The Party's discipline watchdog has warned that officials should not mix art with power.

Some artists have preyed on vain officials and made friends with them to profit from the relationship. Other officials have been known to cheat or plagiarize to win awards.

Yan An, vice president of Shaanxi Writers Ass., was blamed for offering a precious cultural relic to Gao Hongbo, vice president of Chinese Writers Ass., to win the 2014 Lunxun Literary Prize, China's top laureate honor, according to media reports.

Gao said he had writer a letter to return the gift to Yan and explained the situation to the association.

Other such leading figures in the arts include the chair of Sichuan's provincial federation of literary and art circles, Guo Yongxiang, who faced criminal prosecution in March for accepting bribes.

CCTV had a mumber of staff "taken away" in 2014 for alleged law breaking. The individuals included directors, producers and anchorman.

During a national symposium addressing literary and art circles last October, President Xi Jinping urged artists not to pursue success at the expense of moral values.

Artists should be innovative and put social benefits before everything else, Xi said.

There are not many laws related to the cultural sphere. The few regulations that do exist cover very specific domains such as publishing and film, said Qi Shuyu.

Art circles lack proper transparency because not many members of the public supervise the arts, said Qi.

Wang Yukai called for a "return to art itself" instead of the pursuit of fame and wealth. The true value of art lies in its intellectual depth, aesthetic exquisiteness and high morality, Wang said.

 

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