If articles in the China-watching press are to be believed, we have recently learnt a lot about the viewing habits of senior Chinese leaders. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, reportedly considers the American classic The Godfather his favourite western cinematic indulgence. Wang Qishan, the former vice-premier of finance and now ultimate arbiter for discipline on the Communist party’s standing committee, is said to favour House of Cards. Mr Wang has purportedly told colleagues in Zhongnanhai, the cloistered leadership compound, to keep abreast of the Netflix hit. He apparently was so transfixed by early episodes that he instructed underlings to check the release date for season two.
Political heavyweights from authoritarian regimes tend to favour muscular US movies such as Rambo and Scarface. Apparently, the Latin American strongman Manuel Noriega had a library filled with violent American VHS video tapes (before the era of DVDs). Continue reading »