Two propaganda films that were released in China this month did not foster the reactions that the Chinese Government had hoped for.
Instead of inspiring Chinese pride and nationalism, one of the films, “The Founding of an Army” was mocked especially by the younger generation it was targeting.
The film featured popular teen idols as revolutionary leaders.
Hung Huang, a critic in Beijing described it was a “modern-day romantic narratives on the founding fathers of the nation” and thought it was “hilarious.”
While the Communist Party has been desperately trying to market these types of films to the Chinese public, they are much more interested in the entertainment industry and celebrities. Deriving from Western influence, the party’s leader President Xi Jinping sees this as a threat to Chinese values.
“Chinese people are increasingly ignoring party propaganda and are much more interested in movie stars, who represent a new lifestyle and more exciting aspirations,” said Willy Lam, an expert on Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The recent propaganda has been attempting to incorporate soap opera-like storylines that promote patriotism. But, these films are not being deemed as successful.
“While the government could once dictate to young people what they should value and how they should lead their lives, they find themselves completely without the tools to do that now,” said Huang.
Then another recent film produced by the Global Times, a Chinese propaganda outlet, features the story of a young American Man who has relocated to China and is living a much happier life in the country.
The American, Dylan Walker falls in love with Communism.
“I think communism is the most ideal social and political system in the world,” says Walker in the film. “We just want to make sure everyone can get basic welfare and rights.”
He is especially inspired by Chinese dictator Mao Zedong.
“I began to learn Chairman Mao’s works in high school. We learned a little bit of his articles in history classes before. When I came to China for the first time, I bought versions of the “Quotations from Chairman Mao” in Chinese and English. I read it almost every day after going back to the U.S. I kept it during class and read it when I had time after classes. If I hadn’t learned the quotations, I wouldn’t have joined the USA Communist Party, so Chairman Mao and the Communist Party of China will always have a special place in my heart,” said Walker.
He also “addresses” the doubt communists may have while promoting the party’s values.
“What is terrible is that a communist might have doubts towards communism and socialism and then loses his faith and belief. Just like President Xi Jinping said before, some party members lack “calcium,” that is a lack of belief of communism and Marxism,” said Walker. “Joining the party is not for getting a job, nor for any privilege, nor for any special interests or anything else. You should know joining the party is a lifelong commitment instead of a temporary matter. For your whole life, you should serve your people and your country.”
The Chinese propaganda is often released around political events. At this week’s Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress, President Xi Jinping is expected to cement his power by adding his name officially to the party’s constitution.
Author’s note: Propaganda like this plays better with the outside wannabe countries than those in China. Loyalty cannot be demanded; it must be earned. The Chinese people are seeing right through these films because they are anything but genuine. Not to mention, they aren’t about anything that actually interests the Chinese public.
Editor’s note: This happened in the Soviet Union with Pravda. The free press from around the world is more credible than the propaganda laced messaging from state-controlled media. Once a source loses credibility, then it actually has the opposite effect on the subject. In the case of the Soviet Union, this factor was instrumental in its fall. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe were perhaps the best weapons against Communism.