The Corner

More Lang Lang (Just a Bit)

In a post yesterday, I mentioned that Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist, is a vice president of the All China Youth Federation. Hu Jintao himself — now the CCP number one — was once president of this organization. For more, read Matthew Robertson, here.

I have a letter from a woman in Australia, who says, “Because I grew up in China, and was once a CCP member, I know too well that the All China Youth Federation is a 100 percent political organization under the CCP. Therefore, to me, it is nonsense for Lang Lang to proclaim that ‘art is outside politics’ while he holds a prominent position in such an important political organization.”

My hunch is that Lang Lang doesn’t have a political thought in his head. That he is instead thinking about Mozart, Debussy, and girls (which is good). I believe he simply confuses Chinese patriotism, or a national feeling, with loyalty to the CCP. That’s the way the CCP wants it, of course: There is no difference between the CCP and China. I further suspect the following: The fact that Lang Lang lives abroad means that he thinks he must be all the more loyal to the CCP. That he has to be more “Chinese” than those living in China. There may be a speck of guilt at play.

Anyway: The lady — the exile in Australia — has a point.

One more thing: Is there anyone more vexing than the person who stands with a dictatorship while himself living in conditions of freedom? Someone else always has to pay the price. Lang Lang never feels the lash of the CCP’s dictatorship. He merely receives decorations from them. I don’t begrudge this pianist’s glorious career in the West. It has been a pleasure to have a front-row seat at it, so to speak. As I mentioned yesterday, I think I’ve written as much about him as I have about any musician over the last ten years. I just wish he’d think now and then of his countrymen in the gulag, laogai. And if he can’t do that — maybe be a little less ardent and effusive in his solidarity with the masters of that gulag.

Wei Jingsheng, Gao Zhisheng, Wang Dan, Liu Xiaobo, Jianli Yang, Harry Wu — those men, to me, are the real patriots of China. If patriotism means caring about and loving your country — and the people in it.

P.S. Lang Lang, who played at Barack Obama’s Nobel ceremony in 2009, sure as hell wouldn’t have played at Liu Xiaobo’s ceremony, in 2010.


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