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Analytical Essay on the Chinese Propaganda

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The agenda that used to reign over the citizens of the People’s Republic of China was characterized by the images that were implemented by Propaganda. The Chinese political system has used different types of artistic expressions for many generations to not only entertain but also enlighten the Chinese people and provide an example of appropriate behavior and thought. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949 by the new Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, Propaganda art was used to express the goals and values of the new Chinese Communist Party in the most advantageous way possible. The new government used the propaganda, especially posters because they were inexpensive, to penetrate into every social class in Chinese society. These posters could be found not only in different workplaces around the country but also in many people’s homes. Most of the people of China enjoyed these different works of art for the vivid colors and visual content and did not pay much attention to the slogans imprinted on them. These different political slogans were passed along in an almost subconscious way and the posters were admired and embraced by many because at the time there were not many delicacies available to the people, especially to the ones those in the lower class (peasants). The government employed talented artists to create different works that would portray metaphorical and theatrical images using bright colors with different political slogans to push Mao’s political agenda. The Chinese propaganda poster above was used by Mao’s regime to illustrate that Chinese citizens should trust and have faith in Mao, for everything he is doing is right and will help China advance through the cultural revolution and into the modern era. Some of the visual elements that are emphasizing this message and reflecting the goals of Mao’s China are the use of bright colors, the sun, Mao’s head, and different symbols and messages in the poster.

At first glance of this poster, you immediately notice the golden, luminous color coming off the rays of the sun drawing your attention to the middle of the poster where Mao’s head is placed. In this image, the sun’s rays are pointing in at Mao and out towards the people, forming a connection between the two while showing the people’s trust and faith in their leader. The artist also paints his face in red and warm tones, illuminating the faces of the people in the crowd. Another important aspect to notice is the placement and size of the Mao’s head in the center of the poster signifying the importance of his role during his leadership of the country, especially during the cultural revolution. A crucial aspect of the poster is the lack of anything above Mao’s head, almost comparing him as God-like figure to the Chinese people. “Everyone felt so proud, anticipating the most exciting moment to come” (Yiwu 201). In this part of the image, the artist does an outstanding job of accurately portraying how the Chinese people idolized Mao and his ideas.

Throughout Chinese history, artists have always used specific colors and shades to help portray different messages. Two prominent colors that were used in most Chinese propaganda during Mao’s era were red and yellow, the only colors on the flag of the People’s Republic of China. The use of the two bright and vivid colors in this poster can be tied to the cultural revolution in China and Mao’s promotion of the Red Guards. The Red Guards were, “students who answered Mao’s call for continuing revolution, Red Guards formed large groups that targeted political enemies for abuse and public humiliation”(Ramzy). The artist used the color red in this image to accurately portray the power and strength that the Red Guards had during the cultural revolution.

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The artist of this poster also uses the little red book to further illustrate the message of the poster. The little red book is a copy of Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, which during the cultural revolution was practically mandatory to know and carry at all times. The presence of the little red book was fundamental to communism and the strength of the party. “We waved red flags and the little red book, crying and chanting, ‘Long live Chairman Mao’”(Yiwu 201). This book was used to spread Mao’s idea’s all around the country and further brainwash the citizens of China into believing that Mao was their only and best hope for a new China.

This poster depicts many different classes of people and different slogans but they all bear similar meanings. Many different operas line the bottom of the poster holding political slogans and showing their faith towards Mao by advancing the arts. During the cultural revolution, Mao’s wife believed that it was her duty to start a crusade to dominate the art world and this poster is an example of exactly that. The main slogan at the bottom of the poster states, “Advance victoriously while following Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line in literature and the arts”(poster). Many of the other slogans in the poster state similar statements for example, “Literature of Mao is supporting the peasants, soldiers, and workers” (poster bottom left Erik). These slogans accurately relate to history because during the cultural revolution Mao “Tried to reassert control by setting radical youths against the Communist Party hierarchy”(Ramzy) to help the lower class in China. The little yellow signs that the opera members are holding up say, “faithful/respect/loyalty” (Erik) and are all praise toward their leader and clearly support the message of faith and trust towards Mao. All of these political slogans were used to effectively brainwash the Chinese people to the point where quotes similar to this one, “Proletariat culture and arts are regulated by the government” (poster Erik), were considered by the people to be something beneficial their lives.

The Chinese government used this poster and many other posters as propaganda to brainwash and manipulate the Chinese people during the cultural revolution. The message of this poster does fit in with the reality of life in China during the cultural revolution to a certain extent. In this way, most of the people that were loyal and faithful to Mao were already brainwashed by the propaganda so they did not know any different. As we can see in this poster, most of the aspects portrayed Mao as a God-like figure; the slogans were used to push Mao’s political agenda forward with the peoples backing. Mao’s regime used posters to express their goals and values of his political agenda while also providing examples of how Chinese citizens should be living their lives.

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Analytical Essay on the Chinese Propaganda. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-the-chinese-propaganda/
“Analytical Essay on the Chinese Propaganda.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-the-chinese-propaganda/
Analytical Essay on the Chinese Propaganda. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-the-chinese-propaganda/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Analytical Essay on the Chinese Propaganda [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-the-chinese-propaganda/
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