Literature and art shall be promoted to serve the people, to awaken their political consciousness, and to enhance their enthusiasm for labour. Outstanding works of literature and art shall be encouraged and rewarded. The people's drama and cinema shall be developed.
1949March 23 Second Plenum 7th CC all cadres have to start participating in cultural struggle
July 2 National assembly of literary and art workers meeting starts
July 7 Zhou Enlai urges writers to accept CCP leadership
July 19 All China Federation of Literacy and Art Circles (FLAC) is formed
August 22 First campaign against bourgeois characters in literature
September 25 Literary Gazette (FLAC) starts publication
October 1 Mao Dun appointed as Minister of Culture (MOC)
1950February 14 Treaty with SU. Influx of Soviet literature starts
March Mao Zedong condemns the movie Malice of Empire
March 29 Guo Moro chairman of the association for the study of folk literature
July 11 Zhou Yang head of commission for theater reform
October 28 FLAC calls upon writers and artists to support the Korean War
November 27 MOC holds meeting on theater programs
1951January 2 Central Institute of Literacy Research founded
April 25 Literary Gazette criticizes movie Life of Wu Xun
May 5 GAC directive on theater reform
May 20 Mao Zedong criticizes movie Life of Wu Xun in Renmin Ribao
June 6 Renmin Ribao editorial on purity and health of Chinese language
June 15 Liberation Army Literature starts
October Folk Literature series published
October 10 Volume 1 of selected works of Mao Zedong
November 17 FLAC starts meeting on political education for writers
November 24 Reform movement in literature and art starts
December 20 Guo Moro receives Stalin International Peace Prize
1952January Writers start writing on San Fan
March 5 First group of writers go to factories, farms and army to learn from the masses
May 10 Literary Gazette on creating new heroes in literature
October 6 First national drama festival starts
December Second group of writers go to factories, farms and army to learn from the masses
December 26 MOC directive on improving the work of dramatic troupes
1953January 30 Literary Gazette starts attack on Hu Feng
March 24 Reorganization of FLAC
December 24 GAC directive on strengthen motion picture work
1954May 3 Chinese People’s Association for External Cultural Relations established
June 7 MOC and ACFTU directive on strengthening cultural and artistic activities in industry
September 1 Studies on “Dream of the red chamber” criticized
October 16 Mao Zedong support critics on “Dream of the red chamber”
October 28 Feng Xuefeng editor of Literary Gazette criticized
December 2 Guo Moro criticizing Hu Hsi thoughts
December 8 Reorganization of Literary Gazette after “Dream of the red chamber”
as the guiding principle, that literature and art should serve politics and serve the worker, the peasant, and the soldier and that artists should question their own political position and attitudes.
The Congress did not change, but rather confirmed the relationship between literature and art on the one hand and politics on the other, and drew up guidelines for creating literary works. It followed that political criteria should always take priority over artistic criteria in the evaluation of art. However, art should not be mere propaganda (education) but also provide accessible entertainment to the masses. Writers and artists have to educate the masses and they have to learn from the masses.
"Apolitical artists are useless; those hostile to the new ideology are dangerous. There must be extensive and permanent artistic controls, but these are redefinable, depending on changing political objectives. "
Future artwork has to serve urban residents and industrial workers while continuing to meet the demands of the vast rural population.
Mass art, amateur artistic creations of workers and peasants, is encouraged. As early as 1950, there are circular exhibitions of amateur art of workers in various factories in Beijing.
At this congress, Zhou Enlai divides in his speech "A political report to Congress of Literature and Art workers" artists into two groups: “new art workers” who had worked in the Communist base and “old artists” from the Nationalist-controlled area. DeMare (2015) concludes
"China’s leading urban artists and new cultural workers, while ostensibly welcomed into the fold to help oversee cultural and political performances, were actually being held in distrust for their suspect class status. As a minority of the party’s cultural leaders noted, class had also been an issue for “old liberated area” cultural workers"
The Congress ends in the founding of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (FLAC). The federation is a union of various literary and art associations, which include the Chinese Writers’ Association, the Chinese Musicians’ Association, the Chinese Film Workers’ Association, the Chinese Dramatists’ Association, the Chinese Dancers’ Association, the Chinese Ballad Singers’ Association, the Chinese Artists’ Association, the Chinese Calligraphers’ Association, the China Society for the Study of Folk Literature and Art, the Chinese Photographers’ Society, and the Chinese Acrobats’ Association. All these associations are people’s cultural organizations.
In 1949, the CCP started to eradicate all cultural expressions from capitalist countries and cultural traditions from China’s imperial past.
"In the absence of the old culture, a new culture with a new set of values and concepts had to be established not only for mass consumption but more importantly, for the new regime to win popular support and turn the public into “new citizens.” However, in the immediate post-liberation era it was not realistic for the Chinese regime to quickly build a new culture entirely from scratch, nor was it necessary to do so when such a culture could be readily imported from the “Soviet big brother” and modified to suit the needs of the CCP"
Smith (2015) notices
"...policy towards cultural heritage oscillated between an exclusivist ‘class’ or ‘proletarian’ pole and a more inclusivist, ‘national’ pole...the CCP was unremittingly hostile to popular religion, for example, while broadly positive towards traditional practices such as landscape painting or calligraphy."
The CCP controls 2 major channels by which artists are able to gain regular access to the public, these are art publications and exhibitions. In 1949, more than forty different cultural magazines and journals started to publish. All publications are sponsored and edited by official organizations or cultural institutions.
"Exhibitions, as the second major channel by which Chinese artists gained access to a public audience, also came under the strict control of official art organisations at the national and local level...Artists were themselves effectively precluded from organising their own exhibitions partly due to the monopoly of control held by the Artists' Association and the Ministry of Culture over all suitable public display areas, and partly due to what one artist and art critic termed "the unwritten law that says you do not attempt to hold exhibitions without official permission See below
After 1949, the mindset of the ‘people’ has to alter. Workers are no longer portrayed as "… victim of severe exploitation and mistreatment’, a role characterized by passivity and submissiveness. The new political culture and political discourse not only consolidated a new form of worker subjectivity, but wrought enormous changes on the urban fabric itself."
A city like Shanghai is no longer seen as a city of consumption, but by transition (urban planning in Shanghai has ideological considerations; making the working class master of their own affairs, changing the colonialist face of the city, and demonstrating the superiority of socialism) changing to one of production. Rapid industrialization became the driving force of socialist economic planning, with particular emphasis on heavy industry such as steel works and truck factories. In
practice, cities were divided into four categories according to the degree of industrial construction:
Fig. 45.1 An overview of primary cities of priority for construction (1952)
Source: Liu (2011). Page 94
This transformation evokes resistance and in 1951 a meeting of more than eight hundred artists and writers is held.
Zhou Yang"listed three major mistakes of artists: emphasizing individual experience over identifying with the masses, being reluctant to engage in the work of popularization, and ignoring the study of political ideology "
Promotion of Culture
In 1953, the emphasis in art changes from popularization into "socialist realism". Zhou Yang stresses the importance of the Party’s policy as the guideline of art production
and "...that it was essential for artists to depict the relation between the Party and the people, the leadership of the Party, the model Party members, and the merits
of the people’s democracy system. In the meantime Zhou Yang stressed that socialist realism must have nationalistic style and rigor. The new task of artists and writers,
he said, was to systematically study the native heritage so that socialist realism would be rooted in China’s own tradition and to transform the tradition into new people’s art."
Tang (2015) supplements
"...a (...)shift from a Western-oriented outlook and city-centered modern imagination, which had been the hallmark of May Fourth anti-traditionalism. The new program was one of rediscovery and aﬃrmation of native resources attributed to the Chinese people, itself now proclaimed and called upon as the historic subject and mainstay of a national liberation. Moreover, the program turned the artist’s self-transformation into an integral part of the creative process, with a meaningful synthesis of art and life, self and nation, posited as its dialectical and fulﬁlling outcome."
Landsberger (2014) articulates
"Socialist Realism focused on industrial plants, blast furnaces, power stations, construction sites and people at work; and, less frequently, on happy peasants bringing in bumper harvests of grain, cotton and vegetables; this assorted catalogue of success and abundance stressed the importance of the economic and industrial development of the country. "
Zhang (2004) shows in a diagram (fig. 45.2) the difference between the socialist cinema and the bourgeois cinema.
Fig. 45.2 Difference between socialist and bourgeois cinema
Source: Zhang (2004). Page 202
In short, socialist realism has to show society as it should be.
Art creates prestige on an international scale. Culture exchange is an instrument in the Cold War. Both the SU and the US try to expand their sphere of influence. One of the instruments is cultural diplomacy. In East Asia, the US focuses on Taiwan and Hong Kong to counter the growing influence of the SU on the mainland. The SU is the coordinator of a cultural network from Eastern Europe to Korea and Vietnam in the east. The exchanges consist of mutual visits and performances by delegations of writers, orchestras, and artists and in interactions between students in arts."The arrival of visiting delegations from the Soviet Union in particular provided the newly founded nation with legitimacy and proved that the PRC was accepted as member of the socialist world."
A large delegation of 400 members (writers, musicians, artists, and athletes) took part in the fourth World Youth Festival (Bucharest, Romania). This festival (2-16 August 1953), had over 28,000 participants from 106 nations.
Geng (2018) describes the period between 1949-1954
"The Chinese art world of this transitional period as well is complex, even baffling. These initial years were preoccupied with the forceful establishment of Communist control over the art circles and the tactical cooperation with non-Communist artists. The commingling of artists from different backgrounds generated much tension within the new system. While non-Communist artists grappled with the shifting political situation, the Communist Party also faced considerable friction and unexpected resistance from within."
Shortly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the government issued "The Temporary Measures on the Prohibition against the Exit of Precious Cultural Relics and Books" (May 24, 1950). It is an attempt to
"...protect [China’s] cultural heritage and to prevent precious cultural relics and books relating to the revolution, history, culture, and arts from leaving the country.62 The law ...also includes a new category of “revolutionary documents and artifacts."
Other directives are the Directive on the Protection Measures for Monuments, Valuable Cultural Relics, Books, and Rare Animals and Plants and on the Interim Measures for the Investigation and Excavation of Archaeological Sites and Ancient Tombs (May 24, 1950) of the CPG, the Directive on the
Collection of Revolutionary Relics (June 16, 1950) of the GAC, the Instructions on the Protection of Historical Monuments and Buildings (July 6, 1950) of the GAC, and the Notice on the Use of Relevant Laws and Regulations on Cultural Relics as Reference Materials in the Training of Land Reform Cadres (August 1, 1950) of the Ministry of Culture.
"On May 7, 1951, the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the central government released the Rules on the Division of Powers and Responsibilities for the Management of Scenic Spots of Historical Significance and the Management Measures for the Protection of Local Scenic Spots of Historical Significance, which marked the establishment of the governmental system of cultural heritage conservation. Provinces and cities set up Cultural Relics Management Committees within their own local governments in order to protect and manage historical buildings, archaeological sites, and revolutionary sites as well as to collect valuable cultural books, relics, and revolutionary relics from around the country."
Provincial governments were required to publish lists of important, well-known cultural relics and monuments, put up official plaques to protect them and various public education campaigns should be launched to raise people‘s awareness of cultural heritage and common conservation techniques, and mass conservation activities should be conducted.
In August 1953, the GAC issued a directive, reaffirming the "Interim Measures for the Investigation and Excavation of Ancient Cultural Sites and Ancient Tombs" issued by the GAC in 1950, stipulating unauthorized excavation shall not be allowed, and offenders will be punished according to the seriousness of the circumstances.
From 1952 onwards, a salvage archaeology program starts to rescue valuable papers and books because paper manufacturers throughout the country are purchasing used books as well as newspapers and other scrap paper for pulping. Not only the pulping destroyed many books, in 1950, a campaign of book burning starts. The Commercial Press had published some 15,000 titles, by the late summer of 1950, only 8,800 remained. At the end of November, 1951, 1,354 remained, or 14 percent of the original stock, among books on literature, history, and geography, only five to six percent of the original collection survived, among books on social science, three percent survived. Moreover, art objects (often bronze) are purchased to be used in the process of steel production. See below.
In his "Yan'an Talks", Mao Zedong makes no mention of movies, but the same guiding lines apply for this art form.
The CCP recognizes the importance of films as an easy way to reach a big audience with their political messages. Aesthetics and profit are no longer important. See figure 45.2.
Immediately, the new regime starts to promote the viewing of movies. They use different methods to achieve this.
First of all, they reduce the price difference between movie theatres and in so doing make the theatres more accessible to ordinary citizens.
“Likewise the number of film exhibitions outlets nationwide increased rapidly (…). Upon ‘liberation’ there were approximately 600 movie theaters in China, most of which concentrated in large coastal cities.5 The total number of exhibition outlets in 1960 was reported to be 16,849, which included 2,020 movie theaters, 3,051 ﬁlm clubs and 11,151 ﬁlm projection teams. At this point, the entire ﬁlm exhibition system employed 66, 687 workers.”
Secondly, they organize travelling film exhibition teams to bring films to remote areas throughout the country. The film projectionist has an important task in tailoring film experience to different audiences,
“(they) spoke local dialects or ethnic languages and even adopted various forms of folk art (folk song, folk opera, etc.) to introduce a film before the film screening and to comment on the film during the screening so that the audience would correctly “appreciate” the film. After each film screening, seminars or discussion groups were organized to reinforce the intended political message."
The training of the film projectionists is a state project. The Central Film Bureau starts a three-month schooling program for over 1800 projectionists. Later on, tens of thousands of projectionists are sent to ﬁlm theaters, factories, universities, mines, armed forces, and the countryside. Yet Johnson (2015) remarks
"... From the perspective of the population, state- produced culture was not always regularly available, particularly for those residing in remote, or fiscally impoverished, locations. By contrast, municipal cadre- officials and their families were reported making free use of the system and its resources, including tickets to performances and private screenings of foreign films.53 Military personnel and union members were entitled to discounts and other forms of preferential treatment, such as exclusive and air- conditioned facilities and leisure clubs.54 Even beyond the Shanghai- based ranks of the Communist Party, urbanites were, on average, more regular attendees of cultural activities."
The projection teams, a very expansive propaganda tool, are responsible for financing their own equipment.
“(O)nly in poorer provinces and non-Han Regions where establishing national identity was considered to be of pressing urgency were state subsidies to remain at high levels.”
Thirdly, they organize several film weeks in several cities across the mainland. In 1950, in Beijing, a People’s Democratic Republic Nations Film Week is organized, which shows movies from eight communist countries. In the following 2 years, only the Soviet Film Exhibition is launched nationwide. For example, in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou but also in southwestern and northwestern provincial capitals. (For instance, in 1954, a Soviet film week was held in thirty Chinese cities.)
"Official statistics reveal that between 1949 and 1956, 19 exhibitions known as ‘Film Weeks’ (dianyingzhou) and featuring films from 12 countries were launched in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Chronicles 2005, 31)."
The success backfires sometimes
"As public outdoor film screenings began appearing regularly in more rural environs, for example, enormous numbers of onlookers created higher risks of injury, and even death, due to overcrowding; this situation occurred several times during 1952."
Fig. 45.3 Showing units 1949-1954
Source: Liu (1965). Page 21
In October 1949, a film censorship regulation is issued. 3 types of films are prohibited: anti-communist, anti-Soviet Union, and those which are racist, pornographic, or superstitious. The directive left much room for interpretation. After 1949 until May 1951, hundreds of pre-revolution Chinese films are shown in Shanghai, along with Hong Kong movies. Although there were still a small number of martial arts productions made between 1938 and 1949, the genre disappeared altogether on the Chinese mainland for three decades.
In 1949, almost 70% of the movies are of American origin. In the spring of 1950, a new quota system is announced. 50 to 55% of the screen time is reserved for domestic productions, 20 to 25% for SU films, and no more than 20 to 30% is reserved for US and British movies.
Fig. 45.4 Movie screening 1949-1954
Source: Johnson (2008). Page 423
This quota system is partly introduced to reduce the influence of American movies and partly under the pressure of many Chinese well-known directors, scriptwriters, and movie stars to protect the native film industry.
“The CCP did not want to repeat the Nationalist mistake of alienating itself from the urban population and did not deem it wise to ban all Hollywood films because they were very popular in Shanghai. As Xia Yan, Deputy Director of the Office of Cultural Commission, put it, "We can change the old political system overnight, but not people's habits and taste for things ... for this and other reasons, we decided not to do anything too drastic about American films.,,20 In line with this policy, Beijing's Film Bureau recruited employees knowledgeable about American films to ensure competence and fairness in its dealings with Hollywood.21”
After 1949, most workers in the film industry kept their jobs, only active collaborators with the Japanese occupiers are punished and removed from the film industry.
Anti American Cartoons
Until November 1950, American movies are shown in Shanghai, as are hundreds of pre-revolution Chinese films. The main reason for allowing these movies is that an immediate ban will lead to economic problems for the cinema. The CCP starts a campaign in which the act of watching American movies is considered decadent, unprogressive, and unpatriotic. In 1922, the CCP already denounced American movies for being over-sexualized, unhealthy. Chen (2007) cites an article which
“…suggested that American films used sexual imagery to seduce the Chinese, and that watching American films was like smoking opium for the ways in which it enabled imperialism to flourish in China."
Tickets for American movies are priced higher than SU or Chinese movies. Partly to keep the audience away and partly to get higher tax revenue for the government. Soviet films are often screened in the morning because they yield a lower box office profit.
The movie theaters have also to deal with free showing of SU movies and Chinese docu-dramas in factories and workers clubs.
In October 1950, after the invasion of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) in Korea, American and British movies are banned, and the control on Chinese private studios became tighter.
” Some, including several Cantonese films, were simply restricted to limited engagements at a handful of theaters, essentially creating massive financial losses for their producers.”
During the sanfan campaign (see Article 18 ), several film makers are accused of financial malfeasance and former filmmakers of the GMD occupied areas are suspected of wrong thoughts.
As soon as the CCP controlled the northeast of China, the Japanese film studio was taken over. The Northeast Film Studio became the first state-owned film studio of the PRC. In 1950, the studio had finished 13 feature films. Between 1949-1954, the dominant tone of filmmaking is (melo)drama.
. “The urgent tasks for New China cinema were to legitimize the new social order and to mobilize people to participate in socialist construction by appealing to their emotions. This was illustrated in the two slogans - "worker-peasant-soldier films" and "representing grand subjects" - that had been promulgated as guidelines for filmmaking in the formative years of PRC cinema.1”
The CCP formulates several goals for the film industry. It has to establish an independent and self-sufficient national cinema as an instrument to propagate its policy and ideology.
"… and create a revolutionary aesthetics that negotiates foreign cinematic precedents (classical Hollywood narration, Soviet montage, and Japanese animation techniques, for instance) with Chinese aesthetic traditions in literature, opera, drama, and painting.”
Cinema is considered a modernization project, it reflects the ongoing socialist construction in China. Between 1949 and February 1951, 7 private studios received loans totaling 21 million yuan. The government also provides film stock and equipment.
The influence of the Hong Kong film industry should not be underestimated. Johnson (2008) states
“Often overlooked in histories of the mainland film industry, Hong Kong also represented an important location for Communist networking and cultural organization prior to takeover, as well as an important conduit through which artistic talent was recruited back to Shanghai after 1949. Some of the most prominent Communist affiliated writers and filmmakers—including future central leaders Guo Moruo, Mao Dun (Shen Yanbing), Yang Hansheng, Xia Yan, Yu Ling, and Ouyang Yuqian—had gathered there in mid-1948 to escape Nationalist capture.”
From 1950 on, an annual production plan is developed and the content has been determined. The themes are: CCP’s struggle against the Japanese and the GMD; socialist construction; land reform ; world peace (Korea War); minorities; science; historical figures, especially peasant rebels, patriotic heroes
and heroines, and artists and scientists; adaptations of literary classics and Chinese mythology and other subjects including public security personnel, scientists, teachers, medical workers, students, children, and fishermen. Bao(2008) remarks
"..., comedy as a genre was notably underdeveloped and marginalized in the period from 1949 to 1955. The dominant mode of filmmaking in the first few years of New China was (melo)dramas that offer moral edification and celebrate the triumph of revolutionary virtue over reactionary villainy. The urgent task for the New China cinema was to legitimize the new social order by appealing to people’s emotion. " and Yau (1996) adds
"In all of the feature films made in the early 1950s, "class" serves as the major critical perspective and structuring principle for a
narrative and imaging system. The explicit foregrounding of an orthodox Marxist conception of class in a mass edification context was unprecedented, and the films made were experiments by writers, directors, and policy makers in this regard."
In 1953 the Central News Documentary Film Studio is founded, it produces films with topics on national news, military life, natural scenery and sports events.Chinese documentaries 1949-1954
In the beginning, Chinese directors considered the American movies as their source of inspiration, as they tried to mix political correctness and commercial appeal.
“The Western lifestyle and the Hollywood model that the film was supposed to criticize were part of its appeal, a fact both critics and the audience quickly picked up.”
The CCP decides to reverse this trend and starts sending Chinese study groups of filmmakers to the SU to learn about various practices in the Soviet film industry. They have to learn revolutionary realism and not to identify with the petty bourgeoisie and not to cater to the tastes of politically backward citizens.
Serious critique arose after the release of the movie “The life of Wu Xun” (February 1951). The film was a great success and praised by a number of high-level Party officials (including Zhou Enlai ). Mao Zedong condemned the movie for promoting feudal culture and reactionary ideology.
“Although no artists or officials were punished, the association of a film on a historical figure with reactionary ideas deterred filmmakers from moving ahead on projects they feared could bring official censure on them. Film production declined precipitously from fifty-six films in 1950 to one short film in 1951 and four feature films in 1952. Concerns for political safety overrode desires for artistic creativity for many in the film industry who were unsure of how to function in the new political environment. “
This clash can be interpreted as a struggle between urban-based underground (before 1949) artists with “May Fourth New Culture and left -wing literary frameworks, practices, and artistic tastes” and the rural-based CCP predominantly military camp with peasants as its rank and file.
Wang (2011) argues that the campaign against the movie “The life of Wu Xun” is not only ideological but also economic.
“A crucial reason for the crisis of the private studio film-making legacy was the Party’s need economically to transform the film industry from the private sector to the public sector. While private studio artists actively adapted their legacy to meet new political conditions, they fell victim to the campaign for standing in the way of this economic transformation. The campaign privileged Party authorities and critics and marginalized Shanghai private studio artists, who would change their economic position by joining state-owned studios and further remake their legacy in the hope of regaining their celebrity status."
Du (2018) observes that Chinese movies were under strict control of the CCP, SU movies, on the other hand, were almost uncritical accepted. Partly, because they had less direct bearing on domestic politics and less potential critical towards the regime. However, there was still another reason
"…the important part that foreign films played in fostering diplomatic friendships often further protected them from being edited, criticized and banned as domestic films often were... During the 1950s, when China was on far better terms with the Soviet bloc countries and had more faith in their ideological correctness, the issue of banning or significantly censoring their films would hardly have come up in the first place. Minor cuts and dialogue manipulations did occur, but they could not be employed as freely as in domestic films."
The criticism extended to all other private studio productions. Several communist leaders (including Zhou Enlai) and directors have to make self-criticism. In 1952, all private studios are nationalized, 3 years ahead of other economic sectors. A dual process of combining state planning with financial self-sufficiency is introduced. However, Clark () observes:
"In all Chinese studios the most prominent directors, writers, cinematographers, and other artists in the 1950s through to the 1970s and even later had started their film careers before 1949. These included older-generation filmmakers such as director Wu Yonggang (1907–83), writer-director Cai Chusheng (1906–68), and cinematographer Qian Jiang (b. 1919), and those, like Xie Jin (1923–2008), who had started in the industry in postwar Shanghai and remained active for over half a century after 1949."
Chinese foreign movie posters
Movies about the life of minorities were distinctly different from ‘Han’ movies. The minority women
”… are dressed in colorful outfits with carefully decorated and distinctly female accessories, women that make embroidery for their lovers and sing songs and play music for them. All these gender specific depictions of women, which were taboo in most films in the Seventeen Years Period (1949-1966), are performed without disguise. While these ethnic minority women were allowed to embrace their femininity and individualized practices, they were not a self-defined femininity and set of practices, rather at set defined by the framework of the CCP’s identity building, unifying, and women’s emancipation political campaigns. Because minority women’s “femaleness,” a gender identity longed for by their Han counterparts, was and continues to be used as a function of “internal Orientalism,” the seeming versatility and freedom it provides for its onscreen beneficiaries remained constrained by this framework.”
Frangville (2007) summarized the typical elements of the movies about minorities in the 1950’s
"Cadre du PCC han omniprésent - « Grand frère » han libérateur du non-Han - Histoire d’amour exclusivement entre minzu minoritaires - Figure féminisée - Exotisme - Arriération, superstitions comme frein au progrès, à éduquer - Identification dans l’unité politique" In 1950, the Northeast Film Studio produced "Spring in Inner Mongolia”, the first ethnic minority film in the PRC. Li Weihan and Ulanhu criticized the movie as inappropriate because it violated the ethnic policy of the government. Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, and finally Mao Zedong conveyed several instructions, and the movie was renamed “Victory for the people of Inner Mongolia” and re-screened in 1951.
Lu (2014) concludes
"...ethnicity was rather an artificial construction than a scientifically identifiable object. This genre of film neither intends to create essentialist knowledge of specific nationality, nor does it aim to construct an ethnic norm."
Fig. 45.5 Film production 1949-1954
Source: Johnson (2008). Page 380
On August 1, 1952 the PLA Film Studio is founded.
" From 1952 to 1956 this studio made 23 military-educational films, six political-educational filmsp 58 documentaries, and three feature films and translated 80 foreign films, mostly from the Soviet Union,24"
In 1949 the ministry of agriculture established the Agricultural Film Studio, in the first years of its existence it only made silent movies. The Shanghai Scientific and Educational Film Studio was founded on february 2, 1953 and produced in the same year 10 science and education films and 27 titles. A translation team was set up to translate foreign scientific and educational films.
The PRC exported 1309 films in the period between 1949-1957. These films were sent to both socialist and non-socialist countries, with the percentage of full-length films sent to socialist countries ranging from a high of 77.4 per cent in 1951 to a low of 38 per cent in 1957. The films reached global audiences of over 344 million with many featured in international film festivals. Of these exported films, 662 were full-length feature films, 156 full-length documentaries, 18 short scientific films (only after 1955), and 473 other short films. (Of which more than 386 after 1954).
Chen (2009) emphasizes the importance of this export
“We need to consider how Chinese films portraying struggles against imperialist forces and the Guomindang not only promoted a national narrative for consumption within China but, through specific export patterns in Eastern Europe, allowed China to claim a position in revolutionary history second only to the USSR.” The page Chinese fiction movies 1949-1954 shows the production of mainland movies between 1949-1954. See also Poster Movies
Soviet Union movies...
As in many other aspects of the Chinese society “learning from the SU” is introduced in the Chinese film making. Beginning with reediting, translating, and dubbing of Soviet movies. (In the period between 1949-1954, more than 60 SU movies are translated or dubbed.) Most of the audience are not familiarized with SU movies. Nor with the Soviet culture and history. By “…providing an introduction before the show, explaining the plots during the show, and holding discussions after the show,” film projection teams brought home to the audience the meaning of each Soviet film.”
Later, several Chinese film makers are sent to Moscow to learn from the Soviet directors. The Soviet movies are considered as “ideologically correct” and are seen as a model of socialist cinema. The Soviet movies are studied and the doctrine of “socialist realism” is made the guiding principle of moviemaking.
Besides distrust of the class biases of the directors of the private film studios, a third reason to "learn from SU" is the belief in proletarian internationalism. Soviet World War II films are shown to CPV soldiers to show that this war is part of the struggle of socialist states to survive.
The Soviet movies showed a vision of the future of China not only in economic but also social
“Using the image of “happy, emancipated women” in Soviet films as a concrete example, the CCP furnished women with basic knowledge about socialism and the path for “women’s liberation.” At the same time, by advocating the socialist womanhood idealized by Soviet cinema, the PRC government educated Chinese women along party lines about how to handle relations between the state and the individual, how to manage love, marriage, family, and work, and why one should bring all this in line with the “historical task” of building socialism in China. In this way Soviet films helped the Chinese government quickly incorporate the female population into socialist state formation.” But not only for women the SU is an example. For the CCP, Soviet culture represented the most advanced socialist achievements and therefore would be the most suitable material for creating China’s 'socialist new man. See also Article 6.
As the Chinese spectators become more used to the Soviet movies, the popularity increases. Movies like Tractor Drivers (1939; PRC 1951), Kuban Cossacks (1949; PRC 1950), and Tales of the Siberian Land (1947; PRC 1951), The Fall of Berlin (1949; PRC 1950) Village Schoolteacher (1947; PRC 1950), She Defends the Motherland (1943; PRC 1951). Village Schoolteacher and She Defends the Motherland were among the first films to be imported into the PRC and dubbed in Chinese in 1950. The founding of two dubbing studios in Changchun (1949) and Shanghai (1950) helped to broaden the scope of audiences for foreign films.
"dubbed foreign films were dedicated to three functions: to supplement domestic productions, to educate the people, and to betoken
diplomatic friendships. These three functions were sometimes interlinked but throughout the seventeen-year period (1949-1966) they were often in the process of conflicting and competing for priority."
The audience numbers for Tractor Drivers and Kuban Cossacks exceeded 17 million each in their first two years of circulation. Soviet actors and actress are increasingly popular.
However, many SU films screened in the 1950s were actually box office failures, and attendance statistics were often overblown, as they included large portions of elementary and secondary school students.
Dubbing movies was a possible career opportunity for ex GMD directors (for example Liu Guoquan, Xu Ming) or actors (for example Han Fei, returned in 1952 from Hong Kong and Sun Daolin).
Fig. 45.6 Dubbing of movies 1950-1957
Source: Tam (2017). Page 61
The new regime starts promoting SU movies as the new model of filmmaking. The Chinese films produced after 1949 reflect increasingly the CCP’s political and ideological agenda and less the taste of the audience. Movies from other communist coutries were shown. For example,
"Czechoslovak films were shown to large audiences in some twenty cities in China already by 1953. The Czechoslovak Film Festival became an annual event, and photography exhibits were frequent." The first Western film shown on the mainland since 1950 was the Italian film, "The Bicycle Thief." Chinese soundtrack was dubbed in and it was first shown in ten
Peking cinemas in 1954.
"The New Culture Movement of 1915-1919" and "The May Fourth Movement of 1919-1921" mark a significant turn in Chinese literature, for instance, the use of vernacular language and the rejection of using literary language and forms. Most writers see themselves as political figures, the social and political implications of their works are more important than their aesthetic value.
Hong (2007) notices the existence of a large group of 'liberal writers', but they did not have similar opinions regarding the ‘independent' nature of literature. "Their fundamental points were that literature should not become a slave of politics or religion, writers should be loyal to art, persist in “independent knowledge and experience,” and create “outstanding works that withstand the tests of time.” Yet, although these writers strenuously opposed literature’s dependence on politics, it was difficult to avoid making a choice about current politics."
Hong also notes that the ‘left wing’ literature became the most influential faction by the late 1940’s.
"Their main post-war work was to work for the dissemination of the “new direction for literature and art” established by the rectification of literature and the arts in Yan’an, and, following on from political and military victory, to facilitate its popularization throughout the country until the ideal “integration” of literary forms had been realized."
Mao Zedong sees only one way "If our writers and artists who come from the intelligentsia want their works to be well received by the masses, they must change and remould their thinking and their feelings. Without such a change, without such remoulding, they can do nothing well and will be misfits."
Mao Zedong adopts Lenin’s statement, that of literature as "cog and screw" in the revolutionary machinery, to achieve this, intellectuals are sent to the countryside, or factories to study
"… the peasants’ and workers’ ways of speaking, and also to learn from native storytelling, artistic, or dramatic traditions, which they would then import into their own work, thus making it more accessible to the people."
In other words, artists changed from an active force in the political arena before 1942 to a passive group to be acted on. Those writers who did not accommodate, received different levels of punishment. The mildest form was self-criticism. It was followed by reeducation in the countryside, army, or factories.
Ba Jin, Cao Yu and Ai Wu
were sent either to North Korean Front or the factories after the 'Life of Wu Xun' Affair in 1951. See above Mao Zedong criticized not only films but also literature.
Popularization of the literature is more important than the raising of standards. The distribution of the new political message has more priority than artistic quality.
"Artistic quality was also hoped for, and one of the purposes of sending professionals to help amateurs was precisely that of raising the standard of amateur productions. It was hoped, however, that they would not set standards so high as to discourage the amateurs."
Despite these setbacks for novelists, Lao She decided to return to China, he felt that the new regime holds great promises, particularly for the revival of Chinese culture, and he soon started to write. And although he has stayed for 2 years in the US and had several friends, he criticizes the US as an imperial and capitalist nation. On the other hand, he holds warm contact with his American friends.
Wang (2017) remarks:
"Perhaps Lao She was simply playing the role expected of him in China. But there is too much earnestness in his anti-American writings from this period, and there is too much sincerity in his letters to his American friends. Perhaps he as just torn." A state of mind that many will have had.
O’Dell (2000) notices between 1945-1955 several fundamental developments in Chinese literature. An important one is revolutionary heroism. This development is brought about by:
"The author's political background - The author's concern for the reader/audience - Placement of the 'hero' - The hero's position in society. The job of the hero in literature was to express large historical accounts that occurred during liberation while maintaining a revolutionary posture, therefore the hero was placed in the center and given full right to expand on the author's own experiences."
Other characteristics of the new literature are:
The plot of the story is influenced by the sadness of war, the joys of liberation, and the need for the Party's internal cohesion.
The ideal hero is incapable of presenting typical human instincts, such as self-protection, fear of loss, and death. Love for the Communist
Party, the Chairman, the Motherland was another matter altogether, intimacy is no longer a private affair. A wedding ceremony is not described as an important event but rather as a work duty.
Most works have happy endings with a rosy future looking ahead.
Intellectuals-always easily identifiable by their oversized eyeglasses enter the stage as caricatures: impractical; obfuscating; unintelligible to the masses; mouthing big, empty-sounding slogans.
Also important is
"Since the countryside was seen as the most important front in the change of China, artists had to include carefully chosen details from peasant life in their work in order to prove the authenticity of their representations."
Fisac (2012) notices
"The political control imposed during the 1950s affected not only works written and published during that period but also those published earlier, especially if they had become popular. Texts considered incompatible with CCP ideology or precepts were banned outright.16 Another factor affecting the rewriting of literary texts was the Party’s language policy: standardization of the language was actively promoted from the early 1950s onwards."
In the beginning of the 1950’s, there is an influx of Soviet literature (Between 1949-1953 about 300 Russian books are translated, ranging from ten to
twenty million copies.). Many Soviet novels now have abridged versions written in simple, plain, and sometimes vernacular Chinese suitable to workers, peasants, and soldiers.
SU literature became an important example for Chinese writers, yet some aspect of this literature like romance and human psychology remained a sensitive issue for Chinese novelists. The novel ‘Between us and my wife’ written by Xiao Yemu
in 1950 aroused widespread praise. Yet, in 1951 it was criticized as being full of bourgeois sentiment. It was in contradiction to the officially prescribed workers, peasants, and soldiers themes.
Many publishers see the Russian works as a possibility to sustain their revenue and to avoid political sensitivities associated with translations of literature from capitalist
nations. Especially science fiction and adventure novels are very popular.
These popular images of a technologically empowered future fueled by a superior morality and ideology tied in nicely with the value systems and promises about a future socialist utopia that the CCP sought to disseminate through other channels, while at the same time creating a sense of community, drawing Chinese readers into the orbit of a transnational socialist universe of cultural consumption.
Li (2018) states
"Soviet literature gave Chinese readers a chance to read and feel without guilt (or punishment) what would be labeled “bourgeois and petty- bourgeois sentiments” if portrayed in Chinese fiction. The Soviet big brother’s authority guaranteed that readers did not have to worry about
potential political accusations. Instead, they could openly read about love and human intimacy."
Wang (2019) observes that the party-state’s control on sexual media was far from complete.
"Contrary to popular accounts supported by the contemporary party-state, citizens of “New China” continued to circulate and consume a range of erotic media through the early 1960s. Censorship was incomplete for three reasons: first, extensive continuities persisted in personnel, materiel, and motivations; second, different agents of the state were divided over how to define “yellow” and control it, and, finally, what made the party-state’s control efforts unprecedentedly powerful—a media monopoly and the incitement of individuals to “confess” their thoughts—also opened those efforts to new subversive possibilities."
Censors had to pay special attention to four unacceptable topics:
"the KMT (especially Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei [1883–1944]), anti-Communism, anti-Soviet Union, and propagating fascist and Trotskyite ideas.69 Pre-1949 titles were of special concern. Zhou You called these publications “existing old reactionary books” that needed immediate attention because they were still circulating widely.70 Many of these old texts, as another report pointed out, were “taking the stand of the exploiting class to spread unhealthy thoughts.”71"
From 1949 onwards, the CCP undertook several measures to create a unified, standardized language. It was
"...to facilitate the communication of the party's policies and ideology, and to purge the Chinese language of elements that were considered improper, such as remnants of premodern prose and Europeanized vocabulary. The CCP thus tried to establish a multilayered network of linguistic controls that was supposed to make the expression of dissident ideas all but impossible and to turn language into the party's exclusive terrain. Control over the spoken and written word in the PRC was part of a larger effort to transform the basic mental outlook of man, with the ultimate goal of changing human nature."
Translators are also bound to the general guideline for the literary and art circles of China—“literature and art should serve the workers, peasants, and soldiers”. Dong Siqiu (1899-1969), a famous translator comments
"Even when appropriate translation techniques are used, the major shortcoming in translation is not overcome unless “toxins” in the source texts are eliminated. ... the so-called “incorrect views and ‘toxins’” refers to those that either advocate capitalism or fail to keep up with the development pace of the socialist Soviet Union."
See also Article 43
Before 1949, the CCP controlled 2 publishing houses. Sanlian (the result of a merger in 1948 between three leading Shanghai publishers and book stores) was a product of the United Front approach and worked in urban areas under GMD control. The other publishing house Xinhua was under the total control of the CCP and worked in the liberated rural base areas.
Fig. 45.7 Number of books published in the PRC 1950-1954
Source: Liu (1965). Page 20.
Volland (2003) remarks:
"Sanlian would undoubtedly have provided the better point of departure: it was knowledgeable of the urban industrial and market-driven environment, it had a proven ability of reaching out to intellectuals (an important group whose technical expertise was crucial for the task of socialist construction), and it was financially successful (another important asset at a time of severe fiscal strain). Nonetheless, Sanlian was never seriously considered as a role model; 2 the Party leadership regarded Xinhua as the only viable choice for the modelling of a socialist publication sector. The CCP demanded comprehensive and direct bureaucratic control, even if this would mean operational problems in the short run."
In July 1954, the writer Hu Feng
argues in his "Report on the practice and state of art and literature in recent years" that several writers’ groups should control their own independent publishing houses, with editors appointed by CCP but they should be given absolute authority in editorial matters. In 1955, Hu Feng was arrested as a counter-revolutionary. See also Article 49
Liu (1965) writes
"Since no contemporary Chinese writer really satisfied the Communist Party in China, the Party dug out a dead writer who had been famous in pre-Communist days for his sharp attacks on traditional Chinese values and practices. He was Lu Shun(1881-1936). "
In this section, several forms of storytelling by live performers for a live audience are described. This is not intended to be an exhaustive delineation.
The CCP maintained a strong emphasis on theatrical activities of a mass-oriented mission with particular attention focused on workers and soldiers. The drama continued its service to the political needs of the nation.
" In 1953 alone, the state-owned theater troupes gave more than 41,000 performances to an audience of over 45,070,000. Of the total performances, 5,200 were staged in the factories and mines with an audience of 7,910,000; more than 2,500 performances were given in the countryside to an audience of 4,140,000. For the armed forces the number of performances exceeded 5,600 audiences comprised of 7,360,000 soldiers."
After 1949, about 3000 cultural workers are sent to the South and Central Regions to bolster the land reform campaign. It is impossible for them to reach the 50 million villagers involved in the land reform. An appeal is made to amateur troops in propagating party policy, mobilizing the masses, but the amateur troupes did not receive enough fiscal support needed to properly stage quality dramas that could please a demanding village audience.
"Local cadres quickly realized that cultural performance was the ideal way to spread propaganda, as well as attract interest in political meetings that many villagers found boring. Dramatized narratives were an effective means of creating anger and disseminating Maoist conceptions of village society"
The cadres have to take into account the preferences of their spectators, spoken dramas, northern yangge, and Peking opera, find audience in
cities, but are greeted with indifference in the countryside. The interpretation of plays with superstitious, feudal, or anti-proletariat themes is left to the local cadres. As a result of these ambiguous instructions, a chaotic situation arose. In some areas, the local cadres forbade the showing of traditional drama of any kind. Liu (1965) expresses the opinion:
"The Communist Chinese modernization effort hit hardest at the traditional media's strongest point, the fact that they were a people's art. The politicizing of theater, story-telling and ballad singing means that they are no longer a people's art but rather a Party's art. They now belong solely to the ruling class, the Communist Party. Structurally it is still an intermediary but substantively it is an instrument of the ruling elite."
Financial problems are also the reason private troupes still exist in Shanghai in 1954
"A survey conducted (...) showed that there were 139 troupes and more than 7300 performers of fourteen different types of theater in the city. The political authorities only assigned a minority of them to state-owned performing enterprises because the government could not bear the financial burden of collectivizing a large number of performers, each of whom expected stable monthly salaries. Even the collectivized performers resisted being put into state-owned troupes under centralized management, for their governmental patron paid far less than their value on the market."
DeMare (2015) notices
"For private troupes, the 1953 policy of “rectification and strengthening” represented just another signpost along the long road of negotiations with an intrusive state presence. These troupes had already undergone repeated “rectifications,” coinciding with the “Three Antis” and “Five
Antis” campaigns of 1951 and 1952. During these rectifications (...), the Communists forced professional troupes to accept the leadership of their local government, welcome cadres into their ranks as instructors or even troupe leaders, and undergo “democratic reform.” At times, rectification threatened to become a permanent condition, even for troupes that regularly staged modern shows"
From 1953 onwards Russian drama instructors are invited to teach in Beijing and Shanghai (East China Branch of the Central Drama Institute)
Music and Dance...
In ancient China, musicians held a low societal status, often seen as part of the lowest class. In contrast, writers and painters were esteemed members of the intellectual elite. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) changed this perception by elevating musicians' status, classifying them as "art workers." However, this came with the trade-off of diminished artistic freedom. Similar to Confucius, Mao Zedong and the CCP emphasized the link between ideology and music. But the CCP went further, asserting that music was pivotal in shaping revolutionary individuals.
Two revolutionary operas, "Praise the Son-in-Law" and "The Registry," depicted the new socialist reality. While these operas aligned with the CCP's vision, traditional Beijing opera stayed on its original path during the early years of the People's Republic. Mao expressed disappointment, humorously suggesting renaming the Ministry of Culture.
"If nothing else is done, the Ministry of Culture should be renamed the Ministry of Emperors, Kings, Generals, Ministers, Scholars, and Beauties, or else the Ministry of Foreign Things and the Dead."
A division emerged on the role of musical instruments, with Lü Ji viewing them as outdated bourgeois relics, while He Luting believed in preserving musical techniques.
Lü Ji states:
"We have to realize that the age of piano and violin has gone, it was an old view of the bourgeois individualism epoch. But now it is a new era of the masses. The new music is also in the age of the masses music. The masses music should take vocal music as the major part rather than the musical instruments especially the Western solo instruments including piano and violin"
The latter disagrees
"...the general political theory could not replace the specific music theory and techniques. Music was an art which should be practiced with proper techniques. Whether you admited these techniques or not, the level of techniques played a major and decisive role in music. From this point of view, he criticized those “musicians” who had never studied music systematically and had no knowledge in music techniques but only had political enthusiasm, ..."
Soon the idea of class perspective of music gets overhand, and although many Chinese musicians create a large amount of choral works to serve for the war in Korea (Examples are Yalu River by Ma Sicong, Feihu Mountain Cantata by Zhang Wengang and An Immortal Soldier Huang Jiguang by Shi Yuemeng), they are criticized for paying too much attention to human sympathy or kindness and the story in their works seems untrue.
After the Rectification movement of 1942, students started to collect folksong all over the country.
Many of the performers of folk songs are women, often either sold into family troupes or daughters of such families. They have an erotic image. According to the Party's perspective, singing girls were portrayed as sufferers of feudal erotic cultural consumption, capitalist manipulation, and imperialist subjugation, referred to as the "Three Big Mountains." Consequently, these singing girls became instrumental in promoting several of the Party's objectives: the emancipation of women, the dissemination of socialist ideals, and the mobilization of the masses. This positioned them ideally to contribute to the Party's multifaceted goals. As a result, it was emphasized that these singing girls should enhance their political, cultural, and professional standing. To achieve this, all Regional culture and education bureaus were tasked with earnestly educating the veteran performers and nurturing individuals who could lead the transformation of traditional opera within this group.
Although the official CCP policy wants to eliminate erotic elements out of the performance of socialist new art, but due to shortage of state grants:
"The attraction of their beauty and performance then had another practical function—to make money. In other words, socialist principals had to compromise with "feudal" culture and a market that was once occupied by capitalists and imperialists."
After 1949 this search for folk songs continues. Professional musicians are adept with most of these songs to bring them to a higher level. Local song and drama groups are nationwide founded. These songs are less subjected to the restriction of ‘proletarian’ music.
"Not only the scope of subject selection became wider but also technical treatment turned to be more flexible. They had a common characteristic that they were full of folk emotional appeal and flavor as well as human kindness. "
The folk songs are an important propaganda tool. These adapted songs reflect and glorify the common man and the common soldier fighting either against the GMD or Japan.
They are used in
"... the liberated areas to persuade the masses to think 'revolution' via an approach of 'communality' found through folk themes that everyone was familiar with and could understand."
For example the song 东方红 ("East is Red") - probably composed in the 1940s and based on a Shaanxi folk tune.
On October 30, 1944, Mao Zedong states:
"In the arts, we must have not only modern drama but also the Shensi opera and the yangko (yangge) dance. Not only must we have new Shensi operas and new yangko dances, but we must also utilize and gradually transform the old opera companies and the old yangko troupes, which comprise 90 per cent of all yangko troupes"
In the first years of the new republic, many traditional operas are transformed, according to the slogan “古为新用,洋为中用" (Gu wei jin yong, Yang wei Zhong yong” “to wield through the old to create the new”) These traditional works are revised mainly in the plot (for example no 'kowtowing', humiliation of the hero by feudal rulers, or shows that portrayed landlords as scholars, peasants as clowns, and cadres as wearing green kerchiefs on their heads, symbolizing they had been cuckolded.). The storylines were imbued with reminders of customary conduct, such as honoring parental duties, showing deference to elders and figures of authority, sacrificing for family or nation. The lyrics sung naturally echoed these themes. Whether in urban theaters, or traveling performances in villages, the audience assimilated a moral framework seamlessly intertwined with their entertainment experience.
The CCP’s first official banning notice of some operas was released on March 25, 1949.
Liao (2012) observes
"...the state apparatuses and the various Regional governments were still under construction. This anarchic situation, partially, led to a deviation in the implementation of the governmental policies in the local Regions due to the lack of supervising organs or institutions....banning the traditional plays at random became the general practice all over the country despite the explicit statement against this by the CCP"
In this notice 55 operas were banned. The Ministry of Culture edited the list in July 1950.
"The Ministry of Culture banned twenty-six traditional operas between 1950 and 1952, but more than anything else this was an attempt to prevent local governments from censoring “indiscriminately” and to claim for the ministry the power to assess the people’s entertainment needs."
However, the banning of operas was still out of control, an editorial of the RMRB (16-11-1952) about the conference on opera reform states
"The level and literary accomplishment often treat the legacy of opera with intolerable rudeness. They have no understanding of the fine traditions of national opera and the strong spirit of people and realism in national opera; on the contrary, they often deny it all under the pretext of being feudal, and even blatantly violate the Central People's Government's "Regulations on the Reform of Opera", and arbitrarily adopting bans and various disguised bans without asking for any instructions, making the lives of artists difficult and causing dissatisfaction among the masses." A very successful adaption is the opera “Married to a heavenly immortal”. The leading role of Dong Yang is transformed from a free-spirited student into a handsome and honest peasant. The opera had its premiere in October 1954 at the East China Theater Festival. In 1952, at the First National Trial Performance Convention, less than 10 percent of the performed operas were newly written works.
Figure 45.8 shows clearly that most plays performed in Shanghai were traditional ones (between 86% to 83%)
Source: Greene (2013). Page 46.
There is a constant lack of professional trained performers to populate new dance productions. This problem becomes very clear in the music and dance performance “Long live the People’s Victory staged during the CPPCC in September 1949. See Part 6
"Even these highlights, however, could not make up for the almost complete lack of training of most of the performers. Hu Sha (1922–2013), who codirected the production along with Dai Ailian, lamented the situation, writing, “most [of the performers] were students of only a few months, the majority of whom had not studied dance before, and their performance technique was still quite poor.”3"
To overcome this absence of quality, the Beijing Dance School is founded in 1954. Its curriculum unites three new established streams of Chinese dance: Han folk dance, minority dance, and xiqu dance and defines a set of fundamental movements and techniques. Likewise Shanghai Chinese Orchestra in 1952 is founded and the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra in 1953. In addition, in June 1950, several music education institutions including the National Academy of Music, the Northeast Luxun Academy of Literature and Art, the Music Department of the North China University Academy of Arts, the Music Department of the National Peking Art College, the Shanghai, and the Hong Kong Chinese Music Academy merged in Tianjin. As a result, teaching staff, students and facilities were concentrated together and it became easier to develop their potential. These music institutes hire a number of SU musicians as teachers who teach western music theory and composing techniques.
In 1949, in 6 major cities Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xuzhou, and Shenyang, nearly 80000 performers worked in 1400 theaters or 400 teahouses.
Political demands limit the freedom of architects like in all other art forms in the PRC. The economic situation in the period of 1949-1954 was very unstable, resources were limited. Yet until 1952, architects are still building expensive projects. Lack of supervising tended to provide much profit for the private design firms. In august 1952, the government states:
“'The reconstruction work in the previous years cost the state too much, and the waste was astonishing because many projects had been dealt with improperly... The construction must accord with the policy that building construction should be above all, sufficient, safe and economical; only then could aesthetic issues be considered to a certain degree if the economic conditions allowed. The "formalism”, i.e. building purely for the sake of appearances must be avoided”
The government decides to form a State Construction Commission that will control and supervise all major construction works. The commission puts up a priority construction list: state defense, industrial construction (factories, power stations, and storage houses), then civic construction, and finally restoration of existing properties. Most of these projects are realized in new industrial areas, and administrative structures are realized outside major cities and in most rural Regions.
From 1952 onwards, the influence of the SU in architecture becomes stronger.
"the factories … under Soviet aid, as well as the teaching buildings and dormitories on newly reorganized university campuses. Some of them were carbon copies of buildings in the Soviet Union. For example, several mining schools and colleges in Liaoning, Hebei, and Jiangxi provinces used as their blueprint the design of the main building at the former Leningrad State Mining Institute (today’s Saint Petersburg Mining Institute). …Overlooking traditional Chinese palaces and temples, the monumental Soviet-style buildings unmistakably “underscored the new Soviet presence in China.” 38
Like the SU architects, the Chinese begin to seek for “socialist content and national form”. As Modernism was considered, as originated in the West and was therefore denounced as a capitalist architectural style, serving only the capitalist class and being detached from the needs of the working class. The architects are confronted with a severe problem
"..(they) had to resurrect an architectural past only to render their vision of the built environment locally familiar, not to engage in backward-looking historicism and glorification of a repressive feudalism that they found abhorrent." "...architecture was, however, never so highly-regarded in China as means of ‘advancing political goals’ and the ‘distribution and use of political power’19. The ‘national style’ was not a mere preference but a matter of national policy20 necessary to establish, and differentiate, its newfound nationalist and socialist identity."
To put it simply, a Chinese roof was set on a modern structure. Often the buildings are pompous and with heavy construction and can be considered as monumental palatial architecture.
The Soviet Exhibition hall is an example of Romanesque and Gothic style on the outside, baroque and plastic elements on the inside. At the end of 1954, however, this style is condemned in the SU because it lacks economic efficiency and China followed suit. Zhou Enlai states in September 1954
"...more than a few cities, institutions, schools, and businesses have undertaken some overly lavish construction, willingly exhausting the limited resources of the country."
From now on, suitability, safety, and economy have to be the main features and when the economic conditions permit, attention can be paid to the aesthetics of the buildings. Architecture is used to endorse socialist modernity among the population, it can be seen as a symbol of a future in the PRC being integrated with the modern world.
Liu (2011) remarks
"Instead of becoming a site for the production of new proletarian culture, as the radical architects had hoped, Chinese cities, like the Soviet counterparts, rapidly became the site of monuments and grandiose governmental and pulic buildings that were designed to represent the might of central power and the dominance of the masses (embodied by the state) over the individual."
April 1949, the CCP requested the SU for the assignment of specialists to assist with municipal construction for Beijing and Shanghai. In August 1949, a team of 21 members arrived. They stayed until May 1950. From April 1952, several SU planners arrived.
"In addition to direct technical assistance of the Soviet planners, China learned Soviet urban planning theory also by translating Soviet works and journals, sending students to Soviet and exchanging short-term visits. Still, direct assistance predominated since the scarcity of written learning materials made the newly-proclaimed China heavily reliant on the onsite instructions of the Soviets.
Besides, the Soviet planners offered many opportunities for their Chinese counterparts to ask questions and exchange views in time... "
The overall long-term planning map of Xi’an, 1954"From 1952, the Communist Party planned to transform Beijing, the ancient Chinese cultural and political center, into an industrial and bureaucratic city with an extended immigrant population. According to this plan, thousands of old houses, gateway structures, and traditional streets were to be demolished. Worst of all, what was considered the best remaining old citywall in the world, the Beijing city-wall was scheduled to be removed. Some outstanding architects strongly objected to this plan. Liang (Sicheng) and other scholars even provided alternative design solutions (The Proposal on the Location of the Administrative Central District of the Central People's Government) for preserving these old buildings while promoting economic development."
Peng Zhen, the future mayor of Beijng, formulates 3 principles for the development of the capital:
"Beijing is the people’s splendid capital,…therefore the construction of our municipal administration must at the same time serve all the offices of the central government which represent and lead the people of the entire nation; it must serve the popular masses, serve production, and serve the people’s central government. These three responsibilities are unified and cannot be separated"
The city walls are considered the symbol of feudal exploitation and were torn down. Furthermore, it is decided to renovate the Tiananmen Square, it has to become a place for large-scale military parades and mass congregations, commemorative monuments, and the central position in the construction and spatial layout of Beijing. Around Tiananmen Square are to be located the state’s administrative center zone.
Lanza (2018) concludes that not only economic and social constraints undermine these objectives, but the 3 principles (production, state building and new lives for workers) are incompatible.
"…offices and factories took over space and resources from residence and leisure; the city developed around semi-independent work units and was far from functioning as an organized whole; but,
more importantly, socialist “city construction” became realized in a form of industrial production and urban modernization that was antithetical to any radical step toward a more equalitarian organization of society."
"Between 1949 and 1957, the level of investment in housing was about 10 percent of the total investment in capital construction and massive housing construction eased housing shortages, while the housing systems, designs and technical standards employed then had provided the foundation for housing development for the next 30 years.14 These were largely in the form of ‘standardised multi-floor residential buildings’ built across China 15 based on the Soviet’s model of the ‘industrialised building system’, whose basic features were ‘design standardisation, mass production and systematic construction’ of building components and dwelling unit layouts.16"
In designing residential areas, the most important issues are to accommodate increasing people and to save as much land as possible. Building constructions have priority, environmental matters are of lesser importance. The development of housing has a minor status (it is a nonproductive component in the buildup of capital), economic growth comes first.
"The new government’s urban policies mostly focused on the creation of state-sponsored enclaves --danwei -- in cities. These walled enclaves included state-owned enterprises and institutions, simple housing and medical, educational and recreational facilities. Very little attention was paid to physical planning and siting or integration within the metropolis, as urban design was not considered relevant to the goals of the revolution."
Shortly after 1949, the housing design follows the pattern of houses arranged in parallel blocks, oriented north-south, to enable sunlight into the homes and to use the prevailing winds as ventilation. This design follows ancient tradition. The traditional courtyard system is abandoned. These new houses are located near factories, to win more support from the working class. Caoyang New Village in Shanghai can be considered as a model.
The neighborhood unit schema is adopted to plan large-scale residential development. The construction starts in September 1951 and the first phase ends in April 1952. "The plan was divided into three hierarchical levels: neighbourhood, cluster and village. Each cluster had its own nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools. Primary schools and kindergartens were located within easy walking distance (less than ten minutes) but on independent sites. The village had community facilities such as co-op shops, post offices, cinema theatres and cultural clubs at the centre while commercial establishments at the periphery."
In 1953, critical SU specialists call Caoyang monotone and barracks-like. They introduce the SU superblock. Buildings should not be lower than 4 or 5 storeys, have a unified design and provide green spaces arranged around a quadrangle with public facilities (cultural and welfare facilities) in the center. (e.g., Beijing Baiwanzhuang residential area 1953). These SU designs are soon abandoned because they take too little into account the typical Chinese climate.
In Beijing the need for administrative buildings is very large and caused rising housing prices and rent. Between 1949 and 1951, they increased fivefold and speculation became unrestrained. However, plan making still stressed the need for industrialization and state building, yet the city population grow from 2 million in 1949, to 3.3 million in 1955.
This section focusses on public park design. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, new parks were not created and existing ones were falling into disrepair. In 1949, there are only 112 public parks on the mainland. Restauration of existing parks and the creation of new parks occurs as a by-product of the Patriotic Health Campaign (see Article 48) , which started in 1952. During this campaign, volunteer labors are mobilized to clean urban and rural areas. Zones unsuitable for buildings are designated as (future) parks. Examples of these parks are Dragon Pool park and Joyous Pavilion park (1952) in Beijing.
"Yet despite the physical and artistic shortcomings these parks were eagerly adopted as a clear representation of the new age since they had been created by the ordinary people who were enthusiastic and proud whilst participating in these projects as an act of patriotism"
These parks are seen as a revolutionary effort to promote socialism. "...the British-owned Shanghai Racecourse—a sporting facility for the foreign community in China and one of the symbols of imperialism in Shanghai—was transﬁgured between 1946 and 1951 into what is known today as the ‘People’s Square’ and ‘People’s Park’"
Parks are named ‘People’s Park’, ‘Liberation Park’, ‘Martyrs Park’ or named after revolutionary figures (Lenin, Lu Xun). Party leaders like Chen Yi (Shanghai) or Mao Zedong (Tianjin) often make the inscriptions of the names of these parks. Mao Zedong also decided to retain the name of ‘Joyous Pavilion’ as it is a place of historic interest and its name should be kept.
"This care of traditional past was largely a result of the national pride after the victory over the foreign imperial powers and the founding of an independent nation. This signified that, besides promoting socialism, the country's history was also Important to reinforce nationalism. As upon Liberation there were limited resources for the creation of parks it was necessary to preserve what was inherited from the past so that this would not only contribute to the nationalist spirit but also enhance park spaces both materially and culturally."
The parks were originally intended to be
"...“paradise of the working people in the capital,” where common people could congregate for amusement. But this promise was often unfulfilled because the park was frequently used for large-scale, often boisterous political activities orchestrated by the government....the
government, by limiting people’s leisure activities and turning the park’s social functions into political activities. "
Due to the lack of financial resources, the parks have to be self-sufficient. This is achieved, for example, through admission tickets, shop rents, and fish farming in water bodies.
The ‘Park of Culture and Rest’ created in Moscow in 1928, which is the model for the design of new parks in PRC. This meant that renewed parks (for example, Star Sea Park in Dalian 1950, Elegance Park in Guangzhou 1951) are dominated by buildings which provide cultural and recreational possibilities. These buildings can be let and contribute to the financing of the park. Besides buildings, also open-air dance floors are introduced after it became a popular pastime in the SU. (e.g., Unmoored Ferry park in Hefei, 1950)
Although the SU model is followed
"...surviving historic features were upon the Liberation valued as cultural relics of the nation and were emphasized as a starting point for new design. Despite the fact that indigenous garden making was an expression of the former elite culture, it was eagerly adopted as a basis for the creation of modern parks, since it could then be demonstrated to express nationalistic values."
This section describes visual arts like paintings, drawings or prints.
Right from the start, the new government realizes that for a national audience mass-produced visual art is a must. In November 1949, a directive is issued, calling on all cultural and educational organizations to coordinate the making of new nianhua (new year pictures) for the New Year in 1950.
The new pictures show the message that the party is fulfilling peasants’ dreams of abundance and happiness.
"The new prints should convey the following messages: the grand victory of the Chinese people’s war for liberation and the people’s great revolution, the establishment of the People’s Republic, the Common Program, and the recovery and progress of industrial and agricultural production."
Workers and peasants are prominently present and images of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai replace the Gods.
… the nianhua reform was one of the largest art campaigns ever mounted by the Chinese Communist Party in their efforts to create a shared ideological universe.20 It was a crusade conducted from the top down, and proceeded simultaneously on several fronts: through extensive publicity in official publications; the open support of celebrated artists; exhibitions; conferences; a search for and reforming of traditional folk artists; and award presentations in open competitions for the best new print designers. The intertwining of art and government in Chinese history was never more evident than in the early 1950s.”
This reform meets opposition. Most of the images show an urban culture unfamiliar to the peasants. The changing of Gods means the purging of religious blessings, protection, good fortune, renewal of the seasonal cycle, and hope. Instead, the new images are seen as a symbol of death and mourning, lacking bright colors and an insufficient variety of colors. They refuse to purchase the new Nianhua. Hung (2000) concludes
“But far from submitting to the ideological constraints imposed on them by the state, the populace stubbornly adhered to their own traditional methods of consumption and refused to purchase the socialist prints. In so doing, not only did they delimit and redefine the publicly perceived relations of domination, they also challenged the common notion that officials have the ability to freely impose cultural hegemony on the lower orders.”
However, not only the rural population is not happy with the new prints. There is also
“… a more widespread phenomenon among artists: their unwillingness to commit time and energy to what they regarded as a minor art form, known neither for its status nor artistic worth. In 1953 nianhua was one of the three principal art forms catering to mass consumption (the other two were picture books and slides), something artists shunned. The three forms were derisively labeled by many artists as the "three don'ts": that is, three types of art that artists avoided.102”
At the end of the Korea War, the focus changed from military propaganda to subjects on technology and industrialization.
Oil paintings are considered the right form of art in presenting historical events of the CCP. This is an imitation of the SU practice. The history of the CCP is divided into four periods : the founding of the CCP and the First Revolutionary Civil War (1921-1927); the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-1937); the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945); and the Third Revolutionary Civil War (1945-1949. This division is based on the 1951 written study "Thirty Years of the Chinese Communist Party". It becomes the guideline for artists to produce works. Zheng (2014) remarks
"Ironically the classical European art training method was even strengthened during this period of Communist China. From the 1950s to the early 1960s Chinese art students still spent most of their time in studio drawing plaster casts of classical Greek sculptures or nude models."
The works have to demonstrate national pride. Promotion of new socialist heroes and heroines is important.
" In fact, socialist realism depicts “positive heroes” who are not just good men but men of purpose,(...) self-assurance and straightforwardness towards his future goal.(...) The positive hero embraces "ideological conviction, courage, intelligence, will power, patriotism, respect for women, self-sacrifice." (...) The essence of such a positive hero is his lack of hesitation and inner doubts in striving directly towards the socialist purpose."
Many of these paintings were reproduced as full-color posters, which were bought by individuals and work units for decorative or inspirational purposes. Particularly Dong Xiwen’s painting of the founding ceremony of the republic was widely purchased
The CCP attitude towards the traditional Chinese painting (landscapes and birds-and-flowers ) is ambivalent, should it be preserved, reformed or eliminated.
"Traditional Chinese painting was regarded by the authorities as being at the opposite end of the social spectrum to folk art, and it was looked upon as an elite art form far removed from the lives of ordinary people. Over the centuries it had been developed and refined exclusively by the literati or scholar-official class and was thus considered by the Communist authorities to express the world view of the social elite."
Traditional painters, nianhua designers, and comic book illustrators (the old comic books are filled with ghosts, superstitions, pornography, and violence) are assembled for thought reform and instruction on the new art. Several of the more prominent painters like Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, Pan Tianshou and Yu Fei’an, were relatively unaffected by the new political climate. They were tolerated by the authorities because they were seen as the main upholders of China’s "artistic heritage". It was seen as a symbol of the sophisticated brilliance of Chinese culture and, therefore, a matter of national pride.
Li (2015) remarks
In the early People’s Republic in the 1950s with the contact with Soviet experts and reliance on Soviet models, the making of monumental memorial sculpture was held in high esteem. Starting with the inaugural monument of Communist China, Monument to the People’s Heroes, it became an honor for every large city to have a large-scale monument.
Sculptures are also used to show the goals and success of land reform. These sculptures are crudely made of cheap materials and often show the misery of the peasants and the misbehavior of the landlords.
In the twentieth century several museums are established. The first modern exhibition hall is the Nantong Museum in Jiangsu province (1905). Soon more museums are built. In 1930, the GMD government issued a law on the preservation of ancient objects.
"War, economic recession, social issues, and the political division of the country did not provide a fertile environment for the development of museums and galleries in China: by 1936 there were 77 of them, but only 21 survived war."
After 1949 the new government starts a campaign to preserve cultural objects. For example the Shanghai Cultural Relics Commission is established in 1949.
The CCP takes control over the art markets and persuades art connoisseurs to cooperate. Ho (2012) remarks
"…collectors were also experts (and many chose to serve PRC as consultants), members of the cultural elite of pre-1949 China were often also members of the economic elite, and at least up until the 1957 Anti-Rightist Movement, the state chose to co-opt the cultural elite and their collections...Though the museum in the early 1950s set about recruiting and educating a new group of cultural workers, it was the older generation of art experts who contributed their cultural knowledge to form the collections of the PRC."
The staff of the pre-1949 Shanghai Municipal Museum remain in position and the museum reopens in December of 1952.
Fig. 45.9 Shanghai museum first tier acquisition 1949-1959
Source: Lu (2012). Page 75
Several private collections are ‘voluntary’ donated. These donations are motivated by patriotism and local pride. After Wufan (see Article 30), economic hardship is also a motivation to donate or sell the collection.
Fig. 45.10 Shanghai museum general acquisition 1949-1954
Source: Lu (2012). Page 86
In 1952 (Wufan), over thirty (of 140 workers in the Shanghai Cultural Relics Commission) are accused of corruption.
Not only new art museums are founded, many of them are converted major temples. In 1950 in Shanghai, the building where the first official meeting of the CCP is held, became a memorial hall, but soon the idea arose to transform the site into a museum with a collection of revolutionary items. The National Museum of the Revolution in Moscow is an example. Here
"Lenin’s political career had been carefully highlighted by artifacts of the revolution, such as newspapers and manuscripts, accompanied by oil paintings and maps. Taken together,…., the artifacts forcefully chronicled the Bolshevik leader’s path of struggle and triumph."
Besides museums, exhibitions are considered important propaganda tools for both mass education and mass mobilization.
"One of the grandest exhibits, sponsored by the South Central China Bureau, opened in 1952 at the height of a huge campaign that would affect some 130 million villagers. Visitors to the exhibition saw images of suffering peasants who gained liberation through taking part in class struggle....Some 636,464 Chinese citizens attended the Wuhan exhibit, which was said to be only one of “countless” exhibits held throughout the Region. 101"
The Soviet Exhibition Centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou were intended to teach visitors about the life in the SU, about the SU industry, and about the Soviet culture. The buildings were built in SU style. Between October 2 and December 26, 1954 the first Soviet Exhibition Center in Beijing held an display on the economic and cultural achievements of the SU.
To eliminate superstition, exhibitions are held throughout the country.
"For example, in 1951 the Association for the Dissemination of Science in Shanghai marked the Mid-Autumn Festival with an exhibit for workers on the subject of the moon. In addition to discouraging people from praying to the moon for good fortune, or from thinking that a lunar eclipse was due to a heavenly dog eating the moon, a political lesson was emphasized: enlightened about the science of the moon and understanding that their former superstition was a form of class oppression, workers would better love the People’s Government and the Communist Party.12"
Displays are even on street-level, often with items from neighborhood residents themselves.
"An exhibition allowed visitors to reﬂect on the past, awakening memories of their former lives in the so-called “old society”(jiushehui),as pre-Communist China was known. A display juxtaposed this past with the con-temporary “new society”(xinshehui),in which Chinese people had “stood up”(fanshen), the contrast between Old China and New China “stimulating the masses’ patriotic feelings.”
Exhibitions are to be ideological, scientiﬁc, and aesthetic, including history and narrative as well as visual and material culture. In March 1951, the Beijing History Museum opened the first exhibit, which was based on historical materialism. This display becomes the model for museums on the mainland.
"Frequent exhibitions were held in capital city to delivery popular products, including guai (refer to the hybrid beings transformed from images of animals, plants or inorganic objects), to the public. On 25 September 1954, the China Artists Association and the People’s Fine Arts Publishing House in Beijing held the Exhibition of Original Works of Lianhuanhua (illustrated story books). "
Following the example of other socialist countries the tasks of zoos included cultural enlightenment, popularization of science, research work, as well as providing
providing visitors with a place to relax. Many technical personnel were sent to the SU and Eastern Europe to learn best practices. The Beijing Zoo was at the center of these
developments, with zoos in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other major cities playing a supporting role.
"Советские специалисты принимали активное участие в строительстве зоопарков в Китае, включая такие аспекты, как проектирование, разработка ведущей
идеологии, составление рациона животных и т. д. Реконструкция и строительство вольеров, павильонов и прочего в зоопарке Пекина проходили под техническим руководством советских специалистов7"
Wang (2013) notices
"The Chinese term for propaganda is xuānchuán (宣 傳), meaning to broadcast or disseminate information. Unlike the English term, propaganda in China does not carry innate negative connotations. From its inception, the Chinese Communist Party has relied extensively on propaganda as a means of promulgating its cause."
Rawnsly (2009) marks 4 methods of propaganda • Oral (koutou xuanchuan) • Written (wenzi xuanchuan) • Imagistic (yingxiang xuanchuan): movies, posters, music, theatre
• Demonstrative (shifanxing xuanchuan): propaganda of the deed.
"Although all the techniques were centrally co-ordinated as part of a comprehensive propaganda campaign, with each medium reinforcing the others, the oral and the imagistic were most important and effective given the geographic and demographic diversity of China."
Three goals of propaganda work can be distinguished. First, to explain the core tasks of the new regime to the masses, second to increase the trust of the masses to implement the new policy, and third to raise the political level and awareness of the masses and eradicating the legacy of GMD propaganda.
Culp (2019) clarifies that propaganda has also a pedagogical goal. "As heir to the legacy of the late imperial Chinese model of the state, the PRC leadership inherited fundamental assumptions about governments being responsible for “transforming the people through education” ( jiaohua) in both moral and intellectual terms."
Propaganda in cities and rural areas comes in different forms. Criticism meetings, demonstrations, media propaganda, and performances (Chinese theater, story-telling, ballad singing, and poetry reciting ) occurred in work units (In 1950, a system of study sessions in factories and offices in cities were established, lasting for 2 hours each day) with public transportation and places of entertainment. Propaganda themes are of all kinds of sorts: political and economic, but also targeting the theft of electricity and the cause of lunar eclipses. Zhou (2016) remarks
"The inclusion of everyday issues in party propaganda indicated that to become a citizen of a modern socialist nation, it was not enough to possess the correct political consciousness. Instead, one must also be equipped with modern scientiﬁc, moral and legal concepts. "
It is an effective means of diffusing agricultural innovations and instructing rural people. The image created is
"The unity of the labourer (usually male) and the peasant (often female, for obvious reasons: links with the soil, fertility, etc.) working together to lift China up served as a frequent trope in mass culture. The worker supplied the countryside with industrially produced agricultural tools, the peasant produced ever increasing quantities of produce to not only help industrialisation but also improve general living standards."
The political campaigns aim at the thought reform of the Chinese people in all aspects of life. The scope of propaganda changes with the political climate and serves state political goals.
A special propaganda tool are the posters.
"Propaganda posters played a major supporting role in the many campaigns that were designed to mobilise the people, and they have been the favoured medium for educational purposes, particularly given the large number of illiterates China had in the early decades of the PRC"
Shen (2000) divides the propaganda posters in 5 categories: 1. Publicize party slogans, 2. Support current mass movements, 3. Idealize the life of workers and peasants in the new society, 4. Urge the solidarity of the Chinese people in realizing the party's goals and 5. Popularize military goals, especially the liberation of Taiwan.
Donald (2014) draws up a ranking
" Arguably, posters were the first and most accessible visual address from the Party and film was the second, whereas radio, delivered through inescapable loudspeakers, was the most insistent. On radio, the voice of authority was direct and often issued immediate instructions." (See Article 49)
Another way of propaganda are the articles about ordinary people, who tell their life stories and how the CCP changes or changed their lives. During the election campaign in 1953-1954 (see Article 4), the CCP focused on three specific types of people: the laboring masses (especially industrial workers), women from the lower strata of society, and ethnic minorities. Besides articles and interviews, images of the working class underscore the notion of the new masters of the country.
Sautin (2020) describres a mass campaign in the Northeast to combat fears among cadres and the public regarding the Korea war.
"...,a visual propaganda campaign was launched that compared the relative strength of “Today’s China” and China during World War II; the strength of U.S. imperialism compared to past Japanese imperialism; and the two ideological blocs.131 The campaign was a truly mass affair: over 11,000 artists and 1,539 supporting cadres were called upon.132 Large murals were painted to help Dalian residents understand “U.S. Imperialism” and the U.N. Forces with the goal of dispelling myths and fear while also reminding the residents to not underestimate the opponent."
At the level of districts, cities, counties and workplaces branches of the Assembly for Resisting America and Aiding Korea are organized. For example, in Shanghai, the Shanghai Suburb Districts Assembly for Resisting America and Aiding Korea comprised a total of 76 people: 29 peasant delegates, 8 delegates of workers, 10 delegates of cultural and educational circles, 10 industrial and commercial circles delegates, 3 delegates of religious circles, 3 democratic parties delegates, 5
delegates who were women, 6 youth delegates, and 2 delegates from families of martyrs and veterans.
Fig. 45.11 Two worlds, Imperialist Camp and Peace & Democracy Camp. Jan. 1951.
Source: Sautin (2020). Page 258
Guo (2015) notices:
"In the early PRC days, the state had limited ability to transmit its messages to the common people, particularly in rural
area as opposed to urban area where sophisticated propaganda tool were available.148 A host of various information channels which were common used in a CCP’s propaganda campaign ranging from newspaper, radio broadcast to folk art performing troupes, was simply unavailable or very rare in the rural area....The only widely used method to communicate party state’s
messages to the masses were through village meetings, which requires huge investment of human resources. But the shortage of cadres were an acute problem national wide for CCP in the early PRC days.150"
'Huobaoju' or ‘living newspapers’ are a method of propaganda introduced by the SU.
"the messages of almost all huobaoju were exceedingly simple, and the emotions they encouraged visceral. Characters representing class and state enemies were habitually shown to suffer physical abuse at the hands of the ‘masses’ (or via their own ineptitude), or were theatrically killed, while members of the audience were encouraged to hurl abuse or objects at actors playing the part of such villains. Scripts contained constant repetition of political slogans. And to make absolutely sure that the message was understood, some huobaoju involved actors in roles known as the ‘jieshuoyuan’ (lit. ‘explainer’), whose job it was to narrate events as they occurred, ask rhetorical questions of the audience in an attempt to increase agitation, and to speak directly to characters within the play (e.g., by speaking ‘for’ onlookers when berating a villain). Another common practice was to have a villain’s name attached to his or her person throughout the course of the play so that even the most ill-informed of observers would understand which character was worthy of vitriol."
Cartoons and comics...
In China, propaganda also targets young people through, among other things, cartoons and comic books. Most comic books were rented, in 1949 in Shanghai there about 800 bookstalls renting comics.
"...,daily consumers of comic books were estimated to be between two and four hundred thousand (with each person reading multiple comic books per visit), whereas daily cinema audiences only totaled one hundred thousand.35" As seen above, old comic books are filled with ghosts, superstitions, pornography, and violence (Almost 20,000 volumes of “severely” problematic comics were confiscated in the summer of 1952 in Beijing), the new ones are mostly political cartoons, they support political campaigns, and therefore the cartoons had to be produced quickly.
However, Roberts (2019) observes a problem.
"During the first few years of the PRC, comic producers tried to follow Party doctrine, but without clear guidelines, many of them made political mistakes such as showing positive depictions of the Guomindang and American contributions during WWII; sometimes they referred to Communism as the “new democracy;” and sometimes they transgressed acceptable norms of class struggle such as telling a story about a kind landlord or a cruel peasant. 41"
In his 1942 talk, Mao Zedong states
"But there are several kinds of satire, each with a different attitude, satire to deal with our enemies, satire to deal with our allies and satire to deal with our own ranks. We are not opposed to satire in general; what we must abolish is the abuse of satire."
Mao Zedong instructs Zhou Yang
"“Comic books are favored not only by children but also by adults. The illiterate read them, and the intellectual also
read them. Would it be possible to set up a publishing house for new comic books so as to supplant the old ones spreading stories of genies, knights errant, and superstition?”"
In June 1950, the first issue of Manhua is published in Shanghai. It is modelled on the Soviet Crocodile, a weekly publication founded by the Russian Communist Party in August 1922. Due to the limited paper supply, Manhua starts with a low circulation of 6,000 issues in the summer of 1950. In 1951, just over 1,800 different titles were published in more than 19 million copies.
"...cartoons were needed to promote the numerous mass campaigns initiated by the new government, remind readers of the continuing battle against enemies of the new Communist state—be they special agents, imperialists or traitors—and rally the people in support of a new military conflict developing on the Korean peninsula."
As soon as the Korea War ends, the cartoonists now have to focus on the stabilization of the party-state rule (laudatory cartoons) instead of anti-US and anti-GMD subjects.
Given the high rate of illiteracy and
"… the generally low educational level of the public in the early PRC, visual languages employed in cartoons had to be familiar to most people and intuitively clear. The materials could be inspired by traditional proverbs, folk tales, and legends which were usually created by the masses."
A striking example is the story of Hua Mulan. (See above) According to legend, Mulan took her aged father's place in the conscription for the army by disguising herself as a man.
"Hua Mulan. ... during the initial years after 1949, she simultaneously embodied the pinnacle of Confucian femininity and Communist masculinity."
Sino-Soviet Friendship Association...
An essential part of the propaganda is the friendship between the PRC and the SU. “learning from the Soviet Union” is the key theme of official propaganda work, and the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association (SSFA) is the key institution in advancing the movement to “promote and learn from the Soviet Union.” Yu (2005) enumerates the
"Regular activities sponsored by SSFA branches in different parts of the country included exhibitions, lectures, seminars, get-togethers, study groups, mobile libraries, wall-newspapers, blackboard newspapers, street corner propaganda stations, propaganda buses, fancy dress performances, classes in Russian songs and dances teaching sessions, etc. The SSFA promoted also the Russian language throughout the country, so that it had become, by 1952, the most widely taught foreign language in China.
Several obstacles complicated the success of the Sino- Soviet Friendship Association. First, the majority of the Chinese knew little or nothing about the SU. What they did know, was the not so positive side of the SU. The refusal to return the Changchun railway or the naval base at Lushun. Particularly, they had not forgotten the looting, raping, and dismantling of industrial equipment in the Northeast in 1945. See Part 3
Thirdly, the GMD’s claim that communism has an alien character and makes China subordinate to the SU.
The CCP refuted this claim by emphasizing the symbols of national identity. Sun Yat-sen’s portrait featured, aside from Mao Zedong’s portrait at rallies and parades. The party stated CCP independence in contrast to GMD dependence on the US.
Not only the friendship between the PRC and the SU is important, but also the cultural and economic exchange inside the communist bloc. Special attention is given to the youth.
"Across the socialist world, youth was seen as the most crucial factor in forging a common identity that would transcend national borders and coalesce around the shared ideology of the socialist bloc. Youth festivals and student exchanges followed the same logic: providing youth across the socialist bloc with a shared experience that would bind them together as members of that new transnational community, the socialist world."
Urbansky (2012) remarks
"...that despite an ubiquitous friendship rhetoric and increasing bilateral cooperation in economy, education, culture and other spheres both countries succeeded in limiting cross-border interactions in their shared borderlands. Moscow’s and Beijing’s policies restricted traditional forms of border trade, informal cross-boundary cooperation, day-to-day contacts of the borderland populations thereby contradicting the proclaimed friendship. In other words, relations between the centers intensified whereas contacts in the borderlands decreased."
Li (2018) states that the Sino-Soviet friendship became increasingly politicized, in black and white position. The government set out to penalize anti- Soviet remarks, so “voluntarily” joining the SSFA became a safe option.
"Sincere or not, being an SSFA member was seen as a proof of one’s revolutionary consciousness and correct understanding of the government’s “lean to one side” policy, as well as a statement of one’s support of socialist solidarity and world peace. The huge political cachet that SSFA membership gave to citizens greatly accelerated the organization’s growth, which in turn facilitated popular acceptance of friendship rhetoric."
Li (2018) lists the activities into 6 categories: The SSFA published a huge amount and variety of printed material aimed at familiarizing the public with the Soviet Union and propagating Sino- Soviet friendship. The second category of friendship activity spread knowledge of the Soviet Union through public exhibitions. The third and one especially successful friendship activity was the screenings of Soviet films. The fourth major activity involved Russian- language training. Fifth, the SSFA organized countless lectures, seminars, discussions, and study groups on the Soviet Union. The sixth avenue for promoting Sino- Soviet friendship was commemorative celebrations of landmark events in Soviet history.
"Already in its name, the congress announced a change: it included the neologism “literary and arts workers” (wenxue yishu gongzuozhe), signaling the intention to redefine the identity of artists and writers as part of the working class." Geng (2018). Page 2 [↩][Cite]
Mao Zedong wrote previously in 1940 in his "On new democracy" "A given culture is the ideological reflection of the politics and economics of a given society. There is in China an imperialist culture which is a reflection of imperialist rule, or partial rule, in the political and economic fields." and he continues "The new-democratic culture is the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the broad masses; today it is the culture of the anti-Japanese united front. This culture can be led only by the culture and ideology of the proletariat, by the ideology of communism, and not by the culture and ideology of any other class. In a word, new-democratic culture is the proletarian-led, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the broad masses." [↩]
"...artists...after 1949 regularly went to the countryside to study and gather sketches and drawings of rural life as well as carry out the required “three togethers” of living, eating, and laboring with the farmers in the countryside. Then they would return to their studios in the city to plan and execute the artwork, ..."Li (2015). Page 169. On September 23, 1953 Zhou Enlai called "...specifically for artists and writers to physically travel to the countryside and factories and to enter life not as a spectator, but instead to breath together with the working people and thoroughly enter the masses’ struggle by “becoming one with the life of the masses”. " Page 113 [↩][Cite]
Li (2012). Page 18. [Cite] Stiffler (2003) remarks "Einige sollten spater ihre Abwendung von Shakespeare bedauem, denn die erste Lieferung sowjetischer Literaturzeitschriften war voll von Artikeln, die Shakespeare lobten - ein Beispiel dafür, wie sehr das revolutionare China und das stalinistische Russland anfangs in kulturellen Fragen auseinander lagen. Klassische Musik und Gesellschaftstanze gehörten ebenfalls zu den bourgeoisen Neigungen, die von den Studentenfunktionaren ursprünglich auf die Verbotsliste gesetzt worden waren, bis sie spater herausfanden, dass sowohl die sozialistische Welt als auch die Führung der KPCh beides schatzte. Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai und andere Parteiführer veranstalteten samstagabends Tanzabende in Yenan, der Hauptstadt der kommunistischen Zone. Translation: "Some would later regret their departure from Shakespeare, as the first delivery of Soviet literary magazines was full of articles praising Shakespeare - an example of how revolutionary China and Stalinist Russia were initially divided on cultural issues. Classical music and ballroom dancing were also among the bourgeois tendencies that student officials originally placed on the ban list until they later found out that both the socialist world and the CCP leadership appreciated both. Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and other party leaders held Saturday night dance evenings in Yenan, the capital of the communist zone." Stiffler (2003). Page 218 [↩][Cite]
Smith (2015). Page 180. He remarks further on "buildings, being made of materials that decayed rapidly, required frequent reconstruction, and this may have been a factor that made the literati less concerned about the continuity and authenticity of the built environment than their western counterparts." Page 190 [↩][Cite]
Directly after the founding of the People's Republic of China an extensive bureaucracy in charge of cultural diplomacy is established. Private contacts are discouraged, especially with westerners but even with the socialist brothers the contacts are through governmental structures. Volland (2017). Page 23 [↩][Cite]
Volland (2008). Page 55. For example: Sino-Vietnam Friendship Association is founded in February 1950, Sino-Hungarian cultural agreement is signed in July 1951, Sino-Hungarian accord on the exchange of films is signed in August 1951, Sino- East German cultural agreement is signed in November 1951, Sino-Czechoslovakian cultural agreement is signed in May 1952 and a ten-year Sino-Mongolian Agreement on Economic and Cultural Cooperation is signed in October 1952. [↩][Cite]
Lau (2011). Page 27. [Cite]Already in 1932 the CCP issued regulations for the preservation of revolutionary materials and ancient cultural relics. See also Lu Di Yin (2016). From Trash to Treasure: Salvage Archaeology in the People’s Republic of China, 1951–1976. Entering Beijing, the PLA are under strict orders to avoid damaging the Forbidden City and other cultural historic sites. CCP issues “Instructions About Collecting Valuable Historical Relics During Land Reform. July 30, 1952 [↩]
Andrews (1990) notices: "Distinction is made here between meishu, art that is limited to the visual arts, and the much broader term yishu, arts. Yishu encompasses meishu, but also includes drama, opera, music, and film, realms of greater immediate concern to Mao than pictorial art. The title of Mao’s 1942 cultural manifesto, “Yan’an Talks on Literature and Art” refers to yishu." Andrews (1990). Page 561 Note 7. October 1948 the CCP issues "Instruction on film industry". The political criteria in these instructions are: anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, anti-bureaucratic and anti capitalist, pro soviet-union, pro-CCP and pro-Chinese people. [↩][Cite]
Zhou (2016). Page 5. Movie attendance grew correspondingly: 47 million in 1949, 146 million in 1950, 560 million in 1952, 752 million in 1953 and 822 million in 1954 [↩][Cite]
Lu (2008). Page 11. [Cite] See also Chen (2003). She concludes "Because the CCP did not believe in "real experiences" unmediated by sociopolitical contexts, it created the language, ideals, and practices that permitted a new filmic experience and "reality" to emerge commensurate with a planned socialist reality. As a result, for both the CCP and its subjects, showing and viewing films necessarily occupied a central position in the new reality and its construction." Page 187 [↩][Cite]
Johnson (2015). Page 209 [Cite] "...the bulk of the audiences was actually organized or compelled to attend newsreel showings. They came in groups from schools, government agencies, factories and even as residents of a whole street, presumably mobilized by a so-called Neighborhood Committee.56" ..."Frequently, film viewing is part of the regime's regimentation of people's daily lives.The practice of the
Propaganda Department of the Communist Party in Dairen is a model. It sponsored special "movie lectures" to give the right interpretations of movies to the youth in the city, From 1952 to 1954, 15 lectures were sponsored and 16,000 persons attended. For each film different types of audiences were organized to attend the lectures, such as workers, policemen, etc. The Department also sponsored "movie discussion sessions" and a "movie review column in local newspapers."
in local newspapers." Liu (1965). Page 23 and page 68 [↩][Cite]
Even the GMD government saw these movies as a representation of the persistence of unscientific superstition
and were therefore an obstacle to the establishment of a modern new China. The Hong Kong Wenhua Studio still made martial movies in Cantonese for the mainland market, for example: "Xue Gang's Adventure in the Lantern Festival" released in July 1949 and "Hu Weiqian Smashes the Engine Room" (1950). "To a large degree, the Shanghai based martial arts film manifested a good mixture of traditional Chinese culture, modern technology, and highly professionalized industrial strategies. The CCP took the martial arts film to task for its ideological backwardness, especially its association with feudalism and vulgar commercialism. Therefore, the production center of martial arts films moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong after 1949." Lu (2008). Page 33. After October 1949 the CCP soon banned the import of Hong Kong movies, they were seen as Cantonese kitsch films. An exception were some movies of the Great Wall Movie Enterprises Limited (長城電影製片有限公司)which was Hong Kong's leading left-wing studio and one committed to making progressive Mandarin films with social content as well as entertainment value. Unusual for Hong Kong films, some of their films were publicly shown in Maoist-era China. For the same reason, their films were banned in Taiwan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_Movie_Enterprises [↩][Cite]
Xiao (2004). Page 66. [Cite] Chen Yi, the mayor of Shanghai reveals the dilemma "Shanghai has many theatres, book markets and entertainment centers like the Great World. The number of people who directly and indirectly depend on such enterprises for their livelihood must amount to more than three-hundred thousand. If we take a hard line approach to this issue we will immediately have the problem of feeding these people [in the entertainment sector] who no longer have employment. At present, we have no new entertainment programs. In the last few years, only The White-haired Girl [baimaonu] has been produced. No one can expect people to watch The White-haired Girl day after day. Therefore, it is important to implement change gradually. I reckon it will take ten years to be in line with the demands of worker-peasant-soldier [gongnongbing] policy. If we take everything and turn it around now, that would be very satisfying but there will also be those three hundred thousand people with nothing to eat. If people have no food, they will come and petition the city government. At that point, if you try to teil them about the worker-peasant-soldier policy, they'11 tear your head off. It is easy to turn everything upside down and criticize this and that. It is not so easy, however, to assess the real situation and from there try to change it step by step.51" Cited in Cambon (1986). Page 202 [↩][Cite]
Chen (2007). Page 74 [Cite] "At the same time that Party censors cleaned up Hollywood movies, A-fei (阿飞) performances represented a trend of replacing these and renewing the image of A-fei (in Shanghai)." The wufan and sanfan made an end to this. "Party newspapers then turned their attention from Hollywood movies to A-fei performances and denounced A-fei on stage for playing a bad role. The relevant authorities henceforth boycotted A-fei performances, and for a time were outright suppressed by the Party." See Liu (2022). Page 9 [Cite][↩]
"the absence of American films in China was not due to ideological incompatibility but issues of release rights." Du (2018). Page 15. RMRB september 27, 1949 "The North China People's Government has stipulated that the entertainment tax rate will be halved for movies and dramas that are beneficial to the new democratic culture and education." See also 16-01-1951 Interim Regulations on Special Consumption Tax[↩][Cite]
Bao (2008). Page 195.[Cite] "In March 1951, a one-month exhibition of films produced by state-owned studios' was held in 26 cities, presenting 20 feature films and 6 documentaries, which marked the first achievement of the socialist cinema. Ideologically motivated, many of the films were produced to glorify the CCP's military victories during the anti-Japanese war and the following civil war, or the revolutionary deeds of the Communist martyrs." Yu (2008). Page 62 [↩][Cite]
Chan (2012). Page 12.[Cite] Teo (2013) observes "The Communist Party may indeed have seen the opera film as a folkloric, cultural-nationalist form that could be used as a tool not only to unite the people as a nation, but also to inculcate policies and the new ideology of socialism. The opera film was one of the most popular cinematic genres among the peasantry, for whom it satisfied the peasantry’s demand for traditional aesthetics and social rituals." Teo (2013). Page 5 [↩][Cite]
"...inflationary surge ravaged a great number of cities in mainland China as well as Taiwan where the price of movie ticket rocketed from 20 yuan in early 1946, to 50 yuan in March 1947,to 400 yuan in October 1948, to 3000 yuan by the end of 1948, and to 40,000 yuan in May 1949." Ma (2013). Page 11[↩][Cite]
Yau(1998). Page 150 She adds "What is unanticipated by The White-Haired Girl—and, indeed, by most films of the early 1950s—is the state's appropriation of individual labor in subsequent years when agriculture as collective enterprise was made to support heavy industrial development. In
the film, the spirit of "land to each tiller" marks the end point of the class struggle." Pages 166-167 [↩][Cite]
Sun (2014). Page 145-146 [Cite] Regular series are "News in Brief," an average of one reel every week; "New Villages," an average of one reel every month; "China Today," an average of one reel every month and intended for overseas audiences; and "New Sports" and "New Children," generally bi-monthly. Liu (1965). Page 22 [↩][Cite]
In 1950, the Northeast Film Studio shot a feature film "Who does the honor belong to", shortly after the show was released, the film became the first film in the history of new Chinese cinema to be banned due to "problems" in its content (the conclusion of the film is that the honor belongs to those who study the Soviet Union). The name of the film was taken from the speech of the same name by Gao Gang in 1949. After major revisions, it was renamed "On the Way Forward" to be released nationwide in 1954. [↩]
20-05-1951 Mao Zedong "Pay serious attention to the discussion of the film the life of Wu Hsun . Wang (2017). Page 170. [Cite] Wang (2014) remarks "In 1951, the campaign radically disrupted the long-time cooperation between the CCP and Shanghai private studio left-wing, or progressive (jinbu), film artists. The progressive artists, who had joined the PRC film industry as both celebrities of film and important allies of the CCP, now lost their artistic and political privileges, and their filmmaking legacy was in crisis. ...Filmmakers with a Yan’an background benefited from the lack of competition with the marginalized Shanghai artists and attained higher political and artistic status." Wang (2014). Page 16. [Cite] Xie (2012) observes "“the Temporary Measures on Feature Film Scripts Censorship (draft)” issued by State Administration Council in 1953, a film script must be approved by four departments, namely, studio’s screenplay writing section, the CFB’s (Chinese Film Bureau) art commission, the CFB’s standing vice director, and the standing vice minister of Culture before it could acquire the license for production. In 1954, another two departments, the studio’s literature department and art committee, were added into the process. If the script involved “Party history, important political events or the appearance of Party leaders,” it would be brought to the Party’s CDP for approval. In total, a film script must be censored up to seven times before its production." Xie (2012). Page 42
Wang (2017). Page 180 [Cite] The movie "Between Us, Husband and Wife" or "The Married Couple" of Zheng Junli was also banned in late 1951. It was called "a representative of petit bourgeois thought" because the wife was portrayed as an "ignorant virago" yet the husband was depicted as "a man of wisdom and talent" Liu (1965). Page 40 [↩][Cite]
Wang (2011). Page 15.[Cite] "A number of new elites rose to prominence in this new order. Film critic Zhong Dianfei was one of them. Zhong quickly became an authoritative critic and cultural bureaucrat for attacking private studio films during the campaign against The Life of Wu Xun.Together with Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, Zhong was a key member of an investigation team set up to expose the protagonist Wu Xun’s “reactionary” history." Wang (2014). Page 8
He (2021) argues "...the anti-Wu Xun campaign inflicted minimal damage upon the filmmakers responsible for its production, including Zhao Dan and the writer-director Sun Yu 孙瑜 (1900–1990). While Sun Yu and Zheng Junli 郑君里 (1911–1969) were compelled to perform public self-criticism for their directing of The Life of Wu Xun and Between a Married Couple 我们夫妇之间 (1951), respectively (Wang, 2014: 35), Zhao Dan was not even asked to submit a report to castigate himself, partly because of his status as a public figure “outside the party” 党外" Page 6 [Cite] See also 00-06-1951 Instructions of the Ministry of Education of the Central People's Government on Discussion and Criticism of the Film "The Legend of Wu Xun" and "The Spirit of Wu Xun" [↩][Cite]
Frangville Vanessa (2007). Page 252. Translation: Ubiquitous Han CCP cadre - "Big brother" han liberator of non-Han - Love story exclusively between minority minzu - Feminized figure - Exoticism - Backwardness, superstitions as a brake on progress, to educate - Identification in political unity. [↩][Cite]
Li (2012). Page 173. "China’s increased film import through Sovexportfilm (the film import and export department of the USSR) and the popularity of these films among Chinese audiences greatly pleased Soviet cultural authorities, who attached much importance to creating and maintaining the Soviet image and popularizing Soviet ideology via the distribution of cinema. As a result, the prestige that Soviet culture enjoyed in China enhanced Sino-Soviet alliance, which gave more status to the young socialist state in the international arena. In this way, the introduction of Soviet culture paved the way for China’s internationalization amid Cold War isolation from the capitalist camp.13" Li (2012), Page 16-17 [↩][Cite]
See Chen (2004). Pages 85, 94.[Cite] Cambon cites a Chinese movie critic from Mei Duo in 1950 "We are against the idea that says even though Russian films are good doesn't mean they have no short-comings and even though American films are bad doesn't mean they don't have good points. This point of view has no principle and is not a position of the people. Why? Because though Russian films may have artistic highs and lows, they serve and educate the people and are basically good. But American films are basically bad, they serve American imperialism and capitalism. Yes, Hollywood had Progressive filmmakers, but they have been si-lenced.81" Cambon (1986). Page 216 [↩][Cite]
"As for Soviet art and literature, only film gained currency, since it relied less on literacy and was entertaining. But peasants still found Soviet cinematic language and techniques hard to comprehend, and some saw Soviet movies as just a bunch of entangled extramarital affairs."32Li (2018). Page 10. [Cite] Hagiographic films produced in the Soviet Union were perhaps an exception "One of those films, Mikhail Romm’s 1937 Lenin in October, described Lenin’s role in the October Revolution and was one of the first Soviet cultural exports to China after 1949. “In commemoration of the death of Lenin in January , Lenin in October was shown in all New China’s great cities and in many small places by mobile projection teams. Audience left the cinemas in reverent silence, deeply touched by the humanity and grandeur of this portrayal of mankind’s greatest leader.”" Chang (1995). Page 317. [Cite] Du (2018). "When The Third Blow was screened in Hailar, Inner Mongolia on National Day in 1951, the audience could not tell the Soviets from the Germans and applauded at the wrong moments. When Conspiracy of the Doomed was screened at the same theater three days later, audience members were chattering about whether the story took place in Spain, Iran, or the United States 129" Page 46. [Cite][↩]
Hong (2007). Page 8.[Cite] Zhou Enlai estimated in 1949 that there were about 60,000 writers and artists active in Communist armies (of whom 25,000 to 30,000 in the PLA) and base areas, and about 10,000 in the Nationalist Party-controlled areas who adhered to what he described as the "new school" of literature and art.) "The People's Liberation Army (P.L.A.) was a significant element in the literary and artistic scene in the early 1950's. As has previously been indicated, the P.L.A. (..) had long been active in using literature and art for agitation and propaganda purposes." Judd (1981). Page 289 [↩][Cite]
Fleit (2013). Page 19.[Cite] Chen (2011) observes "As alluded to before, worker literature, or “literature with an industrial theme” (gongye ticai 工业題材), produced less successful works at first than those described as soldier and peasant literature. After all, as contemporary Chinese literary history has noted, China had been a mostly peasant country, led to socialism by a mostly peasant revolution, whose proletariat class had not yet matured in the classical Marxist sense of the word. In the 1950s and early 1960s, however, poetry—following the path blazed by fiction, drama, and film—expressed the pride of the emerging working class taking its place as new members of socialist China." Chen (2011). Page 71 [↩][Cite]
Fisac (2012). Page 134.[Cite] "...starting from the 1942 Yan'an Fomm, there is an endless "dynamism" in literature, imposed and orchestrated by other forces than its authors. 24 Some examples: the War against Japan (1937-1945), the Civil War against the Nationalists (until their 1949 evacuation to Taiwan), the Korean War (1950-1953); Land Reform (shortly before and after 1949); ongoing Rectification Campaigns in literature and art throughout the early 1950s, manifest in a recurrent demand of writers to "learn from the proletariat" in factories, farms and the army (from 1952 onward); attacks on writers and critics, prominent targets being Feng Xuefeng (1954),..." Crevel (1996). Page 11 [↩][Cite]
Li (2012). Page 201. Li notices "Moreover, in consideration of the high illiteracy rate of the population, adaptations of Soviet literature in the form of comic books were made widely available." Page 201 [↩][Cite]
Volland (2008). Page 62.[Cite] The works of Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Katherine Mansfield were all well-received by Chinese readers, as were the works of Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Galsworthy from across the Pacific. Mostly Western classics are being translated in GMD-ruled areas. Works by Edgar Snow, Agnes Smedley, Anna Louis Armstrong, and other American correspondents are translated in the CCP controlled areas. Fan (1999). Page 164 [↩][Cite]
Wang (2019). Page 77. She continues "There were many publications on sexuality from 1949 to 1976, official and not, including erotic underground culture like shouchaoben (手抄本), or “hand-copied volumes,” anonymously authored and transcribed by networks of readers in schools, work units, and families". Page 79 [↩][Cite]
Volland (2009). Page 468.[Cite] Mao Zedong writes in 1942 in his “Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing” the following " let us absorb what we need from foreign languages. We should not import foreign expressions mechanically or use them indiscriminately, but should absorb what is good and suits our needs. Our current vocabulary has already incorporated many foreign expressions, because the old Chinese vocabulary was inadequate. For instance, today we are holding a meeting of kanpu [cadres], and the term kanpu is derived from a foreign word. We should continue to absorb many fresh things from abroad, not only progressive ideas but new expressions as well."
08-02-1942 Mao Zedong "Oppose stereotyped party writing"[↩]
Cui (2014). Page 732. "With the regrouping of publishers and the banning of private publishers, translators had to comply with the norms set by the authority and suppress their aesthetic tastes in order to make a living" Page 736 [↩][Cite]
Denton (2002). March 1950–People’s Daily publishes two critical articles accusing Ah Long of “resisting Marxist-Leninist Thought regarding the partisan nature of literature and art”, and making him the first victim of literary inquisition under the PRC. [↩][Cite]
Liu (1965). Page 30. He continues "In 1951 the People's Literature Publishing House set up a commission of prominent writers to compile Lu Shun's works. By 1954, 1,900,000 copies of his books had been republished. Books on or about Lu Shun were also published in larqe quantity, totaling some 340,000 copies by 1954. In 1951 Ding Ling received the Stalin literature price for her book "The sun shines over the Sanggan river and Zhou Libo for his book Hurricane. Both novels deal with the theme of land reform. [↩][Cite]
see for example the case study of Link (2007). Perry (2007) concludes "...the xiangsheng (crosstalk ) world, recently elevated to a higher social status, was ready and willing to help. It got organized. It tried various things, some of which worked better than others. It learned from its mistakes and by 1954 was closing in on a pretty good answer to the question of how to make satire fit the goals of the revolution." Page 231. [Cite]
"In 1950, under these new circumstances, and with Chairman Mao Zedong as the prime mover, “[t]he Small Group for the Improvement of Xiangsheng” (..hereafter “the Group”), which was headed by one of China’s most famous xiangsheng performers, Hou Baolin, was organized. Other xiangsheng writers and scholars, such as Lao She and Luo Changpei, acted
as advisers to the Group (...). The Group modified many old xiangsheng pieces and removed any pornographic or risqué jokes, references to inappropriate class attitudes, and other ideological flaws that were originally part of the works (...), so that the content reflected the opinions of the ruling authorities." Cai (2016) Page 2 [↩][Cite]
DeMare (2012). Page 168. [Cite] The number of amateur troupes grows from 1000 to 5000 (1951) to 100,000 (rural) 10,000 (workers) in 1954. Liu (1965). Page 45 [↩][Cite]
Liu (1965). Page 87. He continues "By fanatical politicizing of every facet of Chinese culture, Peking ended up in a worse state than before it started. Before, there were groups of professional actors, dramatists, playwrights, story-tellers and singers who had already established their reputation among the masses. These artists were overwhelmingly in support of the new regime, at least in the first few years. They were eager to serve the new government which, they thought, would bring a new and strong China. Instead of utilizing their talents for constructive purpose, Peking pulled the rug from under them. Their art was wrenched away from them by illiterate Party fanatics. And the masses were deprived of an entertainment which was once theirs." Page 91 [↩][Cite]
DeMare (2015). Page 222. [Cite] Zhou (n.y.) notices "...Pingtan artists initiated the prohibition themselves not only out of political considerations, but also for economic reasons. Pingtan performers were less likely to succeed in their career if they fled mainland China like many writers, filmmakers and Beijing artists did immediately after 1949, for the form of art was unlikely to survive in an environment where the performing language was barely understood. It was therefore natural for Pingtan performers, whose art was appreciated in no other places than the Yangzi Delta, to collaborate with political authorities" Zhou (n.y.). Pages 57-58.[Cite] See also chapter 2 Cutting the tail: the Founding of the Shanghai troupe in the early 1950's in He (2012). [↩][Cite]
Cited in Ludden (2013). Page 108.[Cite] "For example, the survey (in 1952) revealed that Qunlian Beijing Opera Troupe’s most popular
and most frequently performed plays were, without exception, traditional dramas and among their best-received dramas were stories of the interregnum between the Qin dynasty (221–206BCE) and the Han dynasty (206BCE–220CE) (for example, ‘Chu–Han Contention’), the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) (for example, ‘The Battle of Changban’ and ‘Escape from Maicheng’), and the Song dynasty (960– 1279) (for example, ‘Liangshan Heroes’). 19 Troupes staging other types of dramas, such as the Youyi Yangju Troupe, also focused on traditional dramas." Pages 12-13 Xiao (2020). [↩][Cite]
O'Dell (2006). "The common man has always enjoyed Chinese folk music for centuries, generations always passing on their local songs to younger generations." Page 26. Based on these folk themes "Composers played a vital role in developing politically correct, pleasant sounding, nationally transportable songs. This is no easy task when much of China, then and now, is divided internally between various language, cultural and physical barriers." Page 26 [↩][Cite]
O'Dell (2006). Page 26. He describes the role of the composers: "Composers played a vital role in developing politically correct, pleasant sounding, nationally transportable songs. This is no easy task when much of China, then and now, is divided internally between various language, cultural and physical barriers. For a song to be politically useful, thereby successful, it must be carefully structured and balanced. One structure was to model a new song after a previously written Western song's instrumentation, then modify the lyrics; note this does not mean the lyrics were simply translated, most song lyrics were not direct translations but rather a complete stripping of the original foreign lyrics overlaid with strikingly different Chinese ones. Another structure was to model a song with revolutionary lyrics laid over previously written or new Chinese folk instrumentations. Both these structures proved extremely important to the development of the new musical nationalism after Liberation when a composer could utilize these two structure-tools in order to both promote a sense of new rebellion, as seen with the use of Western instrumentation, as well as to promote a sense of nationalistic 'China for Chinese' as seen with the creation of revolutionary folk songs." Page 26 [↩][Cite]
Iovene (2010). Page 185. "local governments in the north and northeast prohibited an extremely high number of operas. This led to clashes between the population and the local administrators, creating such uproar that the Ministry of Culture had to intervene in March 1950 to prevent all theatrical entertainment from coming to a complete stop. Page 185.[Cite] In Shanghai "Total numbers of contemporary-themed plays generally hovered around fifteen percent of the active repertory, with most popular types of drama (including Peking opera and Yue opera) never performing more than a handful of these new scripts until 1958." Greene (2013). Page 31.[Cite] See also Liao (2012). Appendix A. Zhou Enlai states "Generally speaking, you should start with the range that is easiest to start with and the easiest to get the majority of artists to agree on, and then work your way up. It is necessary to prevent impatience in the work of opera reform, and the rude tactics that come from it. ...Generally, we should not rely on administrative orders and bans." RMRB 05-05-1951 "Instructions of the GAC of the CPG on the Reform of Opera". Already on November 13, 1948, the RMRB writes "Carry out the reform of old dramas in a planned and step-by-step manner" [↩][Cite]
RMRB 16-11-1952 "reating the Opera Heritage of the Motherland Correctly" [↩]
See for more details Idema (2017). Pages 585-590 [↩][Cite]
Hu (2006). Page 2. [Cite] See also Wong (2015). Pages 324-345.[Cite] Cathcart (2010) remarks "Walls were used to symbolize the supposedly monolithic force of 'tradition' and confining aspects of chinese culture. City walls were not only viewed as old, they were also thought to have been ineffective in resisting the Japanese." Cathcart (2010). Page 176-177.[Cite] This was in stark contrast to Liang's experience in 1949. During the negotiations between the PLA and the GMD troops, PLA officers visited Liang."They said that the purpose of their visit was planning for a military assault on Beiping in case negotiations for a peaceful settlement with |KMT) commander General Fu Zuoyi [1895-1974] broke down. If the PLA was compelled to take the city by force, then [the Communists wanted] to take every measure to protect venerable architecture. These sites needed to be clearly identified. The soldiers then placed a military map on the table and asked Liang to mark down the locations of prized buildings.1" Cited in Hung (2021). Page 1 [↩][Cite]
Xingfu Village in the Chongwen Gate area of Beijing. Gang (2012) notices "The Caoyang New Workers’ Village, Shanghai’s first of its kind, became a symbol for a newly hegemonic working class, a symbol to be broadcast all over the city and all over the country." "Considered as an ideological product, the New Workers’ Villages brought to the stage the force of a new political power, symbolizing the new political orientation of the new regime, and in this new form of space fashioned a dream of a new golden age, a prototypical prefiguration of the ‘communism’ to come." Page 479 [↩][Cite] See also Duyn (2020). [Cite]
Lu (2006). Page 377. In the first phase of the development of the village the kitchens and toilets are public [↩][Cite]
The old summer palace and its garden in Beijing are constantly looted. "Other beneficiaries of the theft of stones (bricks and rockeries) were the new public parks, universities and libraries of the city. The plunder of bricks, roof tiles, slabs of stone, wooden supports, pipes and so on continued daily for some thirty years; and well into the 1950s there were reports that the antique markets of Liuli Chang I were still offering bric-a-brac from the palaces." Barme Geremie R. (1996). Page 140 [↩][Cite]
Xiao (2020). Page 6 [Cite] Sun (2019) states "By demolishing colonial-era landmarks and refashioning them into public space, the CCP hoped to establish legitimacy and win the hearts and minds of the Shanghainese. By inscribing political promises into concrete structures in the center of Shanghai, the CCP attempted to infuse the daily activities of city dwellers with the new rhetoric of nationalism, patriotism, and internationalism." [↩][Cite]
Nianhua are used to decorate the homes and to protect the dwellers. Deities and Gods are the prominent genres. The aesthetic quality or intrinsic value of the prints is very low. They are simply in design, bright colored and easy to produce. "Directive of the Cultural Ministry of the Central People's Government on Launching New Year Picture Work" RMRB November 27, 1949. In 1950: 8 million are published, in 1952: 40 million and in in 1954: 60 million.
"In order to better promote new New Year print production and stimulate the enthusiasm of artists, the Ministry of Culture twice held national open competitions and presented awards for the best new prints. 42 As a result, by April 1950, over 200 artists from 26 localities created 412 new print designs with a circulation of more than
seven million.43The production groups included not only artists in New Year prints, but also from fields of guohua (traditional Chinese paintings), oil paintings, woodcut,lianhuanhua and cartoons." Chen (2017). Page 48 [↩][Cite]
Zheng (2012). [Cite] O'Dell (2000) remarks "The use of color in painting, especially red, had clearly defined parameters of what it symbolized. The emphasis of the color red in painting was immense; red being super-imposed with traits of strength, courage, intelligence, warmth, life and the color that represents the modern times or rather the 'new life' that influenced so many artists during this period." O'Dell (2000). Page 18 [↩][Cite]
Ho (2012). Pages 613, 617. "Just as the Central Military Commission issued directives to protect the Forbidden City, so too did the Shanghai Military Commission provide notices to gather ancient cultural relics that were the 'treasures of national culture and precious materials of national history.'" Page 15 [↩][Cite]
Liu(2023). "Soviet specialists took an active part in the construction of zoos in China, including such aspects as design, development of the leading ideologies, rationing of animals, etc. Reconstruction and construction enclosures, pavilions and other things in the Beijing Zoo were held under the technical guidance of Soviet specialists 7." Page 214 "Познакомить народные массы с эволюцией животных и разъяснить про-
исхождение животных и человека. Зоопарк должен разъяснять, что животные эволюционируют от низших к высшим, все живые существа постоянно развиваются под влиянием окружающей среды, убедительно опровергать абсурдную теорию о том, что человек создан богом и никогда не меняется." "To acquaint the masses with the evolution of animals and explain the origin of animals and man. The zoo should explain that animals evolve from lower to higher, all living beings are constantly develop under the influence of the environment, convincingly refute the absurd theory that man was created by God and never changes." Page 216 [↩][Cite]
Castle (2013). Page 45.[Cite] "At its Gutian Conference of 1929, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) decided to develop a communication strategy to reach distinct social groups with different cultural backgrounds, occupations and levels of education. Each target group had to be addressed in terms of its own psychology and experience, linking political issues with everyday life, while all communication had to have time quality (时间性) and local quality (地方性); without these qualities, the message was irrelevant or unintelligible" Landsberger (2018). Page 149 [↩][Cite]
Rawnsley (2009). Page 287[Cite] "In 1951, the Committee of Chinese People Safeguarding World Peace and Resisting American Invasion published a series of books, including How to Carry out Resist America and Aid Korea in the Rural Areas and How to Carry out Resist America and Aid Korea among Workers. These books summarized lessons learned in the process of mobilization, emphasizing that cadres should set out from personal interests of peasants and workers, and mobilize the masses to participate in suku yundong (movement of telling bitterness)." Wen (2015). Page 113 [↩][Cite]
Landsberger (2013). Page 392. ".., it can be calculated that in 1949, 379 different poster designs were published, with a total print run of almost 6.8 million copies. As for their contents, some ten per cent of these were devoted to the founding of the PRC, and 13 per cent had the deep love of the people for the leadership as their subject. While another ten per cent showed the close relations between the Army and the people, a whopping 31 per cent of them were devoted to agricultural production. Such data really can point to the political priorities at the time.15" Pages 389-390 [↩][Cite]
Shen (2000).Page 184 [Cite] Gu (2018) writes on the impact of the poster "We love peace" "The pair—a perfectly active boy and sweet girl—hit an ideal equilibrium between a soothingly familiar model of the gendered presentation of happiness and an excitingly new personification of socialist prosperity. The soldiers even took oaths toward We Love Peace during difficult battles, as image of the children became one of the best concrete images to stand for abstract concepts such as the motherland and the people. The only other comparable image in its power of effect was the portrait of Chairman Mao himself. In We Love Peace, the
party’s imagination and the individual soldiers’ aspiration finally came to one." Page 206 [Cite] Komarovskaya (2018-2019) remarks "In China portraits of Mao Zedong were an essential feature of any work or living space...Not having them put you at risk. Moreover, portraits of Mao required a special place on the wall: no images should hang above them. Often they were put above the door.8" "1953 Moving into a new house" Page 129 [Cite][↩]
Donald (2014). Page 9.[Cite] The CCP understands the influence of radio broadcasting "As early as in May 22, 1950, China National Radio （ 中国中央广播电台） started broadcasting programs in Tibetan, and programs in Mongolian, Korean, Zhuang, and Kazakh went on air shortly after.149 These programs reported on the contemporary life of minority nationalities, propagated the Party’s nationality policies, and informed the audience of the Party’s stance on issues pertaining to China’s borderlands. Besides serving minority nationality listeners, multi-lingual programs aurally registered ethnic heterogeneity in China." Lu Xiaoning (2008). Pages 85-86 [↩][Cite]
Chin (2023). Page 28. She notices "Through the tactic of mobilizing “the masses through the masses,”
the CCP worked on organizing nonparty organizations for mass mobilization. However, behind the scenes, party organizations and party-controlled mass organizations were coordinating all propaganda activities. Party organizations played a central role in sending down directives on propaganda policies to these mass organizations and grassroots-level party organizations." Page 28 [↩] See also 03-01-1951 CC issued "Decision of the Whole Party to Establish a Propaganda Network for the Masses [Cite]
Altehenger (2013). Page 79.[Cite] The ministry of propaganda issued special handbooks as reference material for cartoonists. "Source material is difficult to obtain, particularly for amateurs, and here was a plentiful supply of it for amateur cartoonists and artists, showing the way every important personality should be drawn, in simplified fashion, and showing how every important political issue of the day should be represented pictorially. The Party, with its usual skill in exploiting the indomitable, finer qualities in any people, assumed correctly that once a cartoonist or artist had folio wed the models shown in the propaganda sketch book, he would be inclined to believe that they were true, and even to argue that they were, for weren’t his own creations and honor at stake?
The result was a complete unity achieved in all of Red China’s media for the communication of thought, from the daily press in a big city to an amateur play troupe in a distant middle school. That was why, no matter what the publication or organ and no matter where it came from inside Red China, there was always a faithful similarity in expression." Hunter (1953). Page 213. [↩][Cite]
"the two (China and SU) regimes attempted to define metaphors that ought to govern the emotional reactions of the masses to this new relationship. While older brother/ younger brother emerged as the most popular, it competed or combined with teacher/ student, friend/ friend, a miscellany of other occasional formulations— and a strong romantic undertow." McGuire (2018). Page 258 [↩][Cite]
Yu (2005). Pages 2-3. Yu also notices "Lüshun residents had strong negative responses; they vented their anger on the Soviets living in their city, quarreled with Soviet soldiers, or pushed and jostled Soviet people on streetcars, sometimes even beating them up. Page 5 [↩][Cite]
"To Shanghai residents who carried anti-foreignism too far, by, for example, objecting to the display of portraits of non-Chinese such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, the official reply stressed the contributions of these foreigners to China's revolution. 86" Howe (1981). Page 53 [↩][Cite]
Komarovskaya (2018-2019) remarks " On the posters of the time, Stalin, as a rule, was depicted side by side with Mao Zedong, but at the same time the Soviet dictator was shown to be the first among equals. His majestic appearance, as well as the scale of his figure in comparison to other characters, gave him the air of a mentor, with Mao Zedong the devoted student" The Sino-Soviet Alliance Page 130 and She writes aboutThe great meeting "At first glance, Stalin, walking a little ahead of Mao Zedong, seems to be taller. However, if two figures are placed on the same horizontal line, it becomes clear that Mao Zedong is actually depicted as being taller than the Soviet leader.12 Mao Zedong, the record shows, was probably right about Stalin’s height. We know Mao’s height – 175 cm – but the exact height of Stalin is currently unclear. At various times and in different sources, though, he is described as anywhere between 167 and 171 cm. The Soviet dictator tried to appear taller, and for this reason he often wore shoes with thick soles and high heels. " Pages 132-133 [↩][Cite]
*- The great accomplishments of three years People's Republic of China. The text reads:
News publication: In 1951, 69,600,000 volumes of new and reprinted books were published, an increase of 147% compared with 1950. In 1952, more than 88 million volumes will be realized. Nationwide, 776 types of newspapers are published, with an average print run of 8 million sheets. Nationwide, there are 3500 radio broadcasting relay stations, and 2000 cable relay stations.
Movies: In 1951, more than 259 million people in the whole country went to the movies, and in the first half of this year, the number has already reached more than 213 million people (including cinema goers and those serviced by movie projection teams), an increase of 181% compared with the same period last year. The number of libraries, clubs and cultural centres also has greatly increased. Landsberger