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China weathers the snowstorm to rally the nation

China weathers the snowstorm to rally the nation
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China’s propaganda machine has gone into overdrive in a war on winter. In the face of one of the harshest months of January in years, the communist leadership is highlighting the state’s efforts to combat extreme conditions that have killed scores of people across the country.

A song broadcast on state TV extolls the heroics of soldiers and civilians alike. State television has also relayed live updates of the relief effort. Transport has been badly hit just as the New Year holiday begins.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao made a personal appearance offering encouragement to passengers on a snowbound train. Analyst Joseph Cheng says China’s politicians have learned lessons from Western PR practices: “The top leaders in China have certainly become skillfull in exploiting the media to build up their image of caring for the people, upholding the fine Chinese communist tradition and at the same time to reduce potential discontent among the people.”

Forecasters predict more snow in the coming days.

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