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China's First Lady Peng Liyuan singing in 2009
China's First Lady Peng Liyuan singing in 2009

Chinese President Xi Jinping's glamorous singer wife Peng Liyuan used to perform with them. But so too did less reputable women, including several who became the center of public scandals. Now, after more than six decades of service, the Chinese People's Liberation Song and Dance Troupe has been disbanded, reports Taiwanese newspaper China Times.

Founded in 1953, the troupe's main mission was to boost PRC army morale and entertain the Chinese public with propaganda songs touting the Communist Party. But it was revealed in recent years that some of its top stars lived in villas and drove luxurious cars, which contrasted with the lifestyle and salaries of ordinary military officials.

One singer in particular achieved notoriety. Tang Can, a singer from the central province of Hubei, joined the troupe only to help it gain a reputation as a breeding ground for corruption and debauchery. Her name was linked with Zhou Yongkang, the former head of the Chinese security apparatus, who became the first Politburo Standing Committee member since the founding of the People's Republic of China to be tried and convicted on corruption-related charges. Known as the "military enchantress", Tang has since disappeared from view.

According to New York-based Chinese-language NTDTV channel, the troupe's dissolution is partly due to Xi's plan to downsize the army, but is also meant as a response to some female members' involvement in "improper relationships" or dealings with corrupt officials and businessmen. Some referred to the song-and-dance outfit as a "harem" for high officials that supplied party bigwigs with "warm beds."

NTDTV said that it was not at all surprising that this very public stage of the People's Liberation Army became the first target of President Xi's military reform, which is said to include the reduction of some 300,000 non-combat military personnel.

China's current First Lady Peng Liyuan has long been a popular national singer, and once a member of the troupe early in her career. She later served as the commander of the troupe before her husband became the Communist Party chairman.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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