BEIJING — Dream or nightmare? Chinese moviegoers will now see for themselves.
Starting July 1, the anniversary the Chinese Communist Party, and through its 19th national congress in the fall, all Chinese cinemas are obliged by the government to show a propaganda film,The Glory and the Dream — Our Chinese Dream.
The short video is programmed to appear at the beginning of each screening, forcing spectators to sit patiently and watch it before their film begins, according to Mtime, a Chinese film and media platform.
The video, described as "inspirational" by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television that has imposed it, "promotes the core values of socialism."
It stars 32 famous Chinese actors and actresses, including Jackie Chan, Bingbing Li and Xun Zhou, who, over three minutes and 27 seconds, chant, one by one, a series of quotes from Chinese leaders' speeches or verses from ancient Chinese poetry and literary classics.
Only if everyone strives for a beautiful dream can this bring together the magnificent momentum for realizing the Chinese dream.
"Only when the country is well, the nation is well and can everybody be well. Only if everyone strives for a beautiful dream can this bring together the magnificent momentum for realizing the Chinese dream," says Jackie Chan, the kung fu actor known for never missing an opportunity to flatter the Beijing authorities.
"All wonderful dreams can come true only through honest labor," says Xun Zhou. And another one: "One who respects others is respected. One who loves others is loved."
Ever since the President Xi Jinping used the term "Chinese dream" to describe his personal and national ideal in November 2012, the term has been hyped up by the disciplined masses of China's propaganda machine.
The Chinese dream is to be fulfilled through every citizen. I hope this Chinese dream doesn't become a Chinese nightmare for us.
Liu Xia, the wife of the Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was released from prison last month with advanced liver cancer, challenged the Chinese government in 2013 in an open letter saying, "the Chinese dream is to be fulfilled through every citizen. I hope this Chinese dream doesn't become a Chinese nightmare for us."
The video has come under fire from critics. Many Chinese said they would stop going to the movies, or would simply wait outside until the propaganda film was over.
"Can we count on socialism, really?" one moviegoer asked sarcastically. Others criticized the "forced brainwashing."