China is distributing 300,000 television sets to some of its poorest regions as Beijing seeks to spread its propaganda into some of the country’s most hard to reach households.
The plan is being billed by authorities as part of wide-ranging efforts to tackle poverty in China’s poor rural areas, but it is also being seen as one of a series of drives to push the ruling Communist Party’s message deeper into Chinese society.
The scheme will help "solve difficulties that impoverished families face in watching television and enrich their spiritual lives,” said the Anhui Daily, the party mouthpiece newspaper in the eastern province of Anhui.
"It will help to better disseminate Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” the report added, referring to President Xi’s political theory.
Mr Xi became the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong when his theory was incorporated into the Communist Party constitution at its congress last year.
In the weeks following the political meeting, scores of Chinese universities and colleges said they would launch research institutes focused on ‘Xi Jinping thought’.
Tsinghua and Peking University, two of China’s top academic institutions, opened new departments dedicated to the theory last month.
Chinese journalists were also reminded soon after the party congress about their responsibilities in spreading Mr Xi’s message, with state news agency Xinhua encouraging them to ‘sing for the new era’.
And across the country, red banners and posters extolling the virtues of ‘Xi Jinping thought’ have been erected on street corners, shopping centres and modern tower blocks.
Although China has been rising on the global stage, Beijing has sought to increase its propaganda at home as part of a wider campaign to tighten the party’s rule.
Authorities said the televisions were dispatched to “remote locations” in arduous conditions, with “poor weather conditions” hampering deliveries.
An official statement added: "Local governments also took on the challenge and mobilised whatever transportation tools on hand – cars, tractors, motorbikes and even horses – to deliver the televisions to households for installation."
Yuan Guanggen, from China’s central Hubei province, who received a television, told the Xiangfan Daily newspaper: “Delivering television sets to local people enables us to feel the loving care of the Party and the country."
Additional reporting by Christine Wei
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