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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Propaganda Art: The Selling of the Communist Ideal

Happy minorities of China

If there is one thing that springs quickly to mind when one thinks "Communism" (for those of us over 40 at least) it is those heroic and patriotic worker propaganda posters that seemed to permeate all aspects of life and culture in the communist world and the old U.S.S.R in particular.

But China too used this medium as a way of enlisting the Chinese people in it's great experiment. It was marketing with a capital M.

Images of those handsome, young, virile boys and girls embracing with faces of rapture, forthrightness and above all hope and courage, the communist ideal.

Though they depict people of good 'peasant' stock, part of the great masses, the subjects invariably appear well fed, rosy cheeked, well muscled (or womanly endowed) and display impossible 'Hollywood" white teeth.

Then there are the happy minorities embracing communism and brotherhood with the Han liberators whose patriotic tanks had rolled into (or over depending on which side of the fence you sit) the welcoming arms of the likes of the Tibetans and Uygurs.

And don't forget the wonderful inspired and inspirational leaders. Mao has got to be the most represented human visage in the history of mankind.

It did not matter to the commissioners of such propagandist art that millions were dying in the Great Leap Forward or that the Cultural Revolution was anything but or even that it was a moot point as to how welcoming some minorities actually were. They had some propaganda to disseminate and nothing small like the truth was going to stand in their way.

If these artistic exemplars of the "highest" sentiments of Communism are something you like looking at then I can highly recommend that you visit Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Posters for a trip down memory lane.

Landsberger neatly classifies his many propaganda posters into periods and themes so there is something there for everyone.

Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages