In a continuing effort to inject China’s youth with a fresh dose of Mao ideology, the Communist Party’s crown jewel and propaganda machine Qiushi Journal is in the works of producing a new animated film meant to appeal to China’s younger set by presenting Mao Zedong in his teenage years.
The show, called ‘When Mao Zedong Was Young’, is being created by the movie and TV production subset of Qiushi Journal and two other Hunan-based film companies, according to SCMP.
“The [original] movie poster shows Mao as a teenager, sporting a braid, a typical hairdo during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), with large shining eyes and a confident smile.”
Lu Huansheng, who is the art director at Qiushi’s film and TV center (and who has been awfully busy lately), told the Sunday Morning Post, most rationally, that “Children like to watch cartoons. The old and stereotypical style [of presenting leaders] can’t engage them any more.”
Apparently the Central Propaganda Department’s Mao-centric recommended booklist for China’s youth didn’t have the kids running to the libraries in masses.
“The production team is working to finish the 30 million yuan (HK$38 million) production to coincide with celebrations in December marking the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth on December 26, 1893,” SCMP reports.
“The move breaks a decades-long taboo on depicting political leaders in animated form. Mao was last portrayed in a comic book in 1948, and political cartoonists who crossed the line were harassed or detained by the authorities.”
Lu said that Qiushi is planning to create more animations featuring the teenage years of other revolutionary heroes such as Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Marshal Zhu De.
Dali Yang, a political-science professor at the University of Chicago and an author of books on Chinese politics, says that the animations may very well be effective in promoting the party’s image in a positive way.
“Qiushi is experimenting with new approaches,” he was quoted as saying. “They haven’t mastered cutting-edge technologies yet, but they are absorbing them. It might prove effective among the young generation.”
Well, as long as it steers them away from that orgy of immorality that is ‘Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf’.
[Image via ECNS]