At the All-China Congress of Literary and Arts Workers , held in Beijing from July 2 until July 27, 1949, the Congress affirms Mao Zedong's "
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" 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
"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 "
Zhou Yang (1908-1989) Vice chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Arts Circles
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 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.
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
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. 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 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.” 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." American Movies
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.
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. " 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.
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."
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. 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
"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." 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 (1904–2005) Chinese writer political activist.
Cao Yu (1910–1996) a Chinese playwright.
were sent either to North Korean Front or the factories after the 'Life of Wu Xun' Affair in 1950. See
Ai Wu (1904–1992) a Chinese writer.
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. 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
Lao She (1899–1966) a novelist.
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." 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
Xiao Yemu (1918-1970) novelist.
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
Hu Feng (1902–1985) Chinese writer and literary and art theorist.
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" 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
The status of music performers in imperial China is low, they are regarded to belong to the lowest level of society. In traditional Chinese society, writers and painters belonged to the intellectual elite. The CCP raised the status of musicians and everyone is classified as “art worker”. They lost, however, the freedom to pursue their art as they saw fit. " Like Confucius, Mao Zedong and his CCP presupposed intimate bonds between ideology and musical practices. But the CCP surpassed even Confucius’s belief that music had a formative effect on moral behavior, asserting that music was crucial to the creation of a class-conscious revolutionary individual." Two revolutionary operas (Praise the Son-in-Law and The Registry) reflect the new socialist reality, the Beijing opera continues in its traditional path through the first decade of the People’s Republic. Mao Zedong lamented this lack of progress by complaining "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."
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"
Lu Ji (1909-2002) President of the the Association of Chinese Music Workers and vice president of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
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
He Luting (1903-1999) Vice president of the the Association of Chinese Music Workers and president of Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
, Feihu Mountain Cantata by Zhang Wengang, An Immortal Soldier Huang Jiguang by Shi Yuemeng and Hero Yang Gensi by Zhang Ru.), 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. 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." 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.) "Plots were infused with reaffirmations of traditional behavior-filial responsibility, respect for the elderly and those in authority, self-sacrifice for family or state, and the words sung were, of course, explicit.35 At the court, the city theatre or the itinerant shows in the villages, the listener absorbed a moral system while being entertained" 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."
Ma Sicong (1912-1987) Violinist, Composer.
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.
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 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 "...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."
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... "
Soviet Exhibition hall
Soviet Exhibition hall Construction period 1952-1954. In 1958 renamed Beijing exhibition hall
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"
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. Landscape design
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
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. 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. Paintings/ Sculptors
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 (1864-1957) Traditional painter
Huang Binhong (1865-1955) Traditional painter
Huang Binhong (1897-1971) Traditional painter
, 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. 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.
Yu Fei'an (1888-1959) Traditional painter
. In 1952 (Wufan), over thirty (of 140 workers in the Shanghai Cultural Relics Commission) are accused of corruption.
Source: Lu (2012). Page 86
Purchases, recquisitions and donations
Purchases, recquisitions and donations
Besides museums, exhibitions are considered important propaganda tools for both mass education and mass mobilization. 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). "
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." 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. 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
'Huobaoju' or ‘living newspapers’ are a method of propaganda introduced by the SU. 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. 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. 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. 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
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
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
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
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
"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
See also 16-01-1951 Interim Regulations on Special Consumption Tax
"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
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
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.
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
"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,J iang 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
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"
"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
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.
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.
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
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
"...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
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
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
08-02-1942 Mao Zedong "Oppose stereotyped party writing"
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.
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.
"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
The number of amateur troupes grows from 1000 to 5000 (1951) to 100,000 (rural) 10,000 (workers) in 1954. Liu (1965). Page 45
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
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.
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
"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.
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.
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"
See also Wong (2015). Pages 324-345.
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.
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
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." Gang (2012). Page 479
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."
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
"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
"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
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
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.
30-10-1944 Mao Zedong The united front in cultural work
06-07-1949 Zhou Enlai Political report to the national congress of workers in literature and art
01-01-1950 CCP Central Committee Decisions concerning Establishing a Propaganda Network for the Popular Masses in the Entire Party
24-05-1950 Directive issued by the GAC Interim Measures for Prohibiting the Export of Precious Cultural Relics and Books
16-06-1950 Directive of the CPG on the Collection of Revolutionary Cultural Relics
01-01-1951 The Ministry of Culture and the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives jointly notified the Notice on Strengthening the Protection of Cultural Relics
16-10-1950 Instructions concerning Conducting Propaganda on Current Affairs Nationwide
23-05-1951 Liu Shaoqi "The Party's Tasks on the Propaganda Front"
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"
08-08-1951 Provisional regulations governing the urban real estate tax
15-08-1951 Interim Management Rules for Places of Public Entertainment
12-01-1954 Decision concerning Establishing a Film Screening Network and a Film Industry
List of directives concerning publishing of books and journals