Mao Zedong: Propaganda, Artists, and the “Fervor of Communism”
Who was Mao Zedong?
Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976, was responsible for an estimated 60-70 million deaths. Over time, through fear, intimidation, and propaganda Mao was able to replace free-thought and free-will with the “Fervor of Communism” over all else.
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This Chinese revolutionary is credited with starting the Cultural Revolution, which sought to rid China of its capitalist and traditional elements so it’s no surprise that propaganda became an important tool in the war against capitalist ideology; propaganda is what Mao Zedong called “the fervor of communism.” The goal was to achieve true Communism through violence or propaganda that would break down all other systems of thought. Artists were persecuted during this time due to their associations with “reactionary” cultural movements such as abstract art, calligraphy, classical music, modern dance, drama, and literature!
What was the communist Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong?
“The fervor of communism” was the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong, and there are some things I think everyone should know about this time in China’s history. This era started when Mao became afraid that his people would stop loving him if he did not keep them in a constant state of revolution.
To prevent this from happening, Mao decided to purge the Chinese government and society of any “counterrevolutionaries” who might be against his rule. He also wanted to promote communism throughout China by having people read communist propaganda and attend mass rallies. Schools were closed so that students could help with the purging, and many people were sent to labor camps.
What types of propaganda did Mao Zedong subject the Chinese people to?
Mao Zedong was a fervent believer in communism, and he used all forms of propaganda to spread his message and gain support for his cause. He wrote poems, songs, and articles promoting communism, and he gave speeches urging the people to rise up against the capitalist oppressors. He also created artworks that glorified communism, and he promoted the cause of communism through posters, while simultaneously attacking capitalism.
The people were subjected to Mao Zedong propaganda in all aspects of their lives, and they were constantly being reminded that China was a communist nation. Though many citizens had misgivings about this new form of government at first, after decades under Chairman Mao’s rule they became indoctrinated into the communist system and it became a way of life for them.
What happened to artists during the Cultural Revolution?
Many people were forced to become artists, including ballet dancers. After all, Mao was a huge fan of ballets and even wrote: “The White-Haired Girl” which became the most popular ballet in China during the Cultural Revolution era.
One famous dancer named Ma Jinfen who survived this trauma had her own dance studio in Beijing. Ma Jinfen shared her experience and said that she was forced to wear a Red scarf which represented the Communist Party during performances, instead of the traditional ballerina outfit. She also shared that one time, when performing for Mao himself, he got angry with her (she didn’t give him enough attention) and yelled at her “You’re not worth a single bullet!”
Many of the dancers who were forced to become artists during the Cultural Revolution are now dying without getting any recognition for their work. Recently, there has been some effort to recognize these artists and give them their due credit, but it’s still a struggle since many of these dancers are quite old and not in the best of health.
In conclusion; the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong was a time of great upheaval in China, and it is important to understand what happened during this time in order to appreciate the plight of the country’s people under communism. Artists were persecuted during this time due to their associations with “reactionary” cultural movements, and they were forced to produce art that glorified communism. The people were subjected to all forms of propaganda, and many eventually became indoctrinated into the communist system. Mao’s communist propaganda led to millions of Chinese people being killed however, the fervor of communism ended with Mao’s death in 1976.
Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information on subject such as – PSYOPS: Propaganda, Censorship, and Disinformation, Propaganda: The Psychological Operation Campaigns (PSYOPS), and Big Brother Doesn’t Always Know Best: Propaganda in Animal Farm.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail