Along the years, China’s image in posters
(From yyii.org) Posters use vivid visual symbols to get messages across in a strong way. During the time when arts only served for revolution propaganda, Chinese posters has developed its unique styles, which many artists happily utilize to express totally different meanings. As China is now trying to rebuild its “country image”, let’s check out how China looks like in posters.
Title: Chinese Family
China did not reach out for the world until late Qing Dynasty. The China image in foreigners’ eyes is typical: value family, clear age hierarchy, and pretty vulnerable.
Title: Your Friend
American military recruitment poster during WWⅡ. China formed alliance with the United States at the Pacific War. But to American militants, Chinese men looked the same as their Japanese enemies. Thus posters like this one was made to remind confused Americans.
Title: Chinese people don’t tolerate invasion, either should we allow our neighbors be invaded.
A poster from the Korean War. Chinese Communist Party came to power after the Chinese civil war and stood against the United States as the Korean War broke out and the Cold War approaching its climax. Featured in the poster is General Macarthur, who lead the US army in the Korean War.
Title: Long live and win the North Korean People’s Army and Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.
Also one of the posters from the Korean War.
Title: “Made in China” Appears In The Global Market
America’s symbol Uncle Sam is featured to urge people buy American goods, yet a small line at the bottom of the poster, indicates the poster itself is “Made in China”.
Title: “Made in China” March towards Western World
After the introduction of Reform and Open Up, Chinese people are surprised by the price difference between domestic market and developed foreign markets. Numerous grass-root entrepreneurs smell the benefits of “made in China” and kicked off a trend of exporting and currency exchange.
Title: Western Consumerism Enters China
In this Culture Revolution style poster, the red sun is replaced by M&M to reflect the fact that China is being overwhelmed by western consumerism.
Title: Wang Guangyi’s Big Criticism Series
To counter the wide-spreading consumerism, Chinese artist Wang Guangyi uses Chinese poster style painting to express his resolution to go against luxury brands.
Title: Typical Chinese Non-Violent Protest
First released by CCTV in 1980s, the photo astonished the western world who then named the Tian’anmen Square affair a live massacre. It is still hard to say until when can China gets rid of the vivid mark of the “tank man”.
Title: Beijing Olympics In Human Right Activists’ Eye
In 2008, China attracted international attention for hosting the Olympic Games. Without saying, it is a great chance for China to fix its international image. But human right activists also capitalize on the event to demonstrate their understanding of China’s human right situation.
Title: Where Is China Headed?
After the 2008 Olympic, western world began to self reflect and speculate how China as an important player in the global economy will change the world. Where is China headed?
Title: China’s Internet Censorship
China is Internet has developed rapidly since 2000. But China’s Internet also bears typical Chinese characteristics: many websites is in fact complete knock-offs of their blocked overseas “parent” website. They survive by localizing and self-censoring. They develop a special relation with government censorship: resist but have to live on it.
The image of Obamao came into being when Obama visited China in 2009. Chinese people think that black man Obama belongs to the “oppressed but now stand up slave” category, and thus can understand China more. They believe that he will lead capitalistic America into Socialistic world.
Title: Here Comes Chinese
In 2010, “China Threat” is raised again. Sino-America relationship become what most put as delicate and subtle. The poster dramatizes that Chinese people are coming to steal Americans’ jobs and earn US dollar.
Title: China Threat Theory After Financial Crisis
China’s performance after the global financial crisis reminds what Mao said in the old times: enemies are getting worse day after day, we are getting better everyday.
Title: Chinese Workers Are Standing Up
China’s story is not limited to the beautiful “v” curve of exportation, it also faces huge domestic challenges, including working force that no longer “works uncomplainingly”. The picture is from “World economy: The rising power of the Chinese worker” by The Economist.
At last, another Obamao to conclude the topic. Nowadays foreign relation is not only revealed from diplomat spokespersons’ mouth, but also by these nameless creative grass-root artists. Maybe this is a new phenomenon both countries should take into account in the days to come.