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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China Propaganda Uncensored

Posted by Author on January 14, 2010

By ILARIA MARIA SALA,Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2010-

Beijing

‘Propaganda has always been vital for the Chinese Communist Party. Mao Zedong understood its power very clearly, and since the beginning he made sure that it was taken very, very seriously by all. But in propaganda . . . everything is fake, of course. A lot like in advertisements, and today China has both—advertisements and propaganda!” says Chinese artist Zhang Dali, speaking excitedly in his vast studio on the outskirts of this city. Despite his earlier qualms that the topic might be too sensitive to handle, his show “A Second History,” which juxtaposes historical political photos before and after the intervention of the censors, has just opened at the SZ Art Center, at 798, an arts hub in northern Beijing that has taken over the grounds of a former military factory. It is a project that has kept Mr. Zhang—famous for having brought graffiti art to China and for threading the fine line between social and overtly political art—busy for more than five years. He has spent countless hours combing libraries and photographic archives around the country, searching for published propaganda pictures and the original negatives and prints from which they were produced.

The range of doctored photos he has collected is astounding: leaders airbrushed in and out of history as their political glory waxed and waned, peasants on whose chests shiny Mao badges are penciled in, a photogenic sheep that makes an appearance on various occasions when the leaders are required to look pastoral. In pictures of political rallies, out-of-favor slogans on banners are substituted with the latest ones; a formerly half-visible slogan held high by the rallying crowd now says: “American imperialism is the ugliest enemy of world peace.” Revolutionary heroes pose against evergreen backgrounds after naked winter branches have been cut out, and peasants’ homes have the walls decorated with Mao portraits.

On occasion the same photo or some of its elements are utilized more than once, following the political trends of the times. One such picture shows Mao at Yan’an—the Communist “revolutionary base” during the civil war—walking alone on a dirt road. In the background is the barren landscape of Central China, with a few peasants toiling or clapping at Mao’s passage, and a tall, slim pagoda sitting atop a low mountain, framing the scene. A few years later, the same photo was amended to show Mao alone in the dry surroundings, a lone hero with the weight of the revolution on his shoulders. Then, in the late ’70s, the picture was given one more lease on life as a landscape shot: “Even Mao has been erased, to show only what Yan’an [now a favorite site for ‘red tourism’] looked like originally,” says Mr. Zhang with a chuckle……. (more detals from Wall Street Journal)

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