Posts tagged ‘cartoons’

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Yellow Blogging

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014: “Social Media”, “Little Secretaries”, Blogs, and the big Trend for 2015

1. Getting Started

To get started, here’s one of my most recent sketches:

And if it isn’t self-explanatory, I’ll come back to it under item #4.

2. “Social Media”

I’m not studying the annual WordPress statistics too thoroughly, but what struck me this time is that, compared with 2013, “social media”, i. e. Twitter and Facebook, have become major referring sites to this blog. that said, maybe 2013 was an exception, because in 2012, too, Facebook and Twitter mattered a lot.

That makes me feel kind of sad. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate Tweets that link to this blog, and I appreciate links from Facebook, too, even if I usually won’t find out what you are writing about there (I’m not facebooking). But the trend seems to indicate that the internet turns from a more public into a growingly privatey-run business. That’s probably not the internet the founding fathers dreamed of.

Woeser found out in December that running an account with Facebook doesn’t make you the owner of that account – well, maybe she knew that all along, but her post came across as somewhat alarmed when she found that what she had reposted on Facebook –  a video of Tibetan Buddhist monk Kalsang Yeshe’s self-immolation that occurred on December 23 […], accompanied by an excerpted report explaining that self-immolation is a tragic, ultimate protest against repression,  had been removed by the company. At any rate, she couldn’t help but suspect that Facebook might be employing “little secretaries”, i. e. censors, just as Sina Weibo does.

Her belief that Chinese dictatorship is manipulating freedom of expression elsewhere, too – i. e. in the West – is understandable, and true to an extent. But internationally, Chinese dictatorship is only one source among several, of censorship and repression, as totalitarian as it may be.

3. Blogs

There’s still a lot of writing going on in the – what was the name again? – English-language Chinese Blogosphere. The nicest surprise this year was the return of EastSouthWestNorth. Obviously, I have no idea if the recent posts, mostly about “Occupy Central”, mark anything more than a stopover, but they are what makes the internet great: raw material, but made intelligible to every user, to work his way through, without easy answers right at his fingertips.

Then there’s Sino-NK. Articles finished and polished, but from a sober perspective, and plowing their way through the past and present of Sino-North Korean relations, rather than leaping at every headline.

Some blogs I used to like are beginning to look like mainstream media, but here is something I’d recommend, to make this three blog recommendations: China Copyright and Media. They do what really needs to be done: they look at the CCP paperwork. That’s no yadayada, that’s the decisions the party is actually taking and never fail to surprise our media when carried out, even though they’ve usually been communicated long before.

I can’t close the blog compartment of this post without a link to that blog post there in Shanghai: the Mother Teresa of the blogosphere, musing about the whereabouts of the legendary Dalai Lama of China blogging.

4. The Big Trend for 2015

It’s not terribly original, but it seems to be obvious. China’s totalitarian skeleton is being refitted with flesh, after a few years of what looks (at hindsight) like a thaw, during the days of the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao collective troupes. This is now turning into a blend of modernization and personality cult. The slaughterhouse scene heading this post refers to the political death of Zhou Yongkang, and the Great and Impeccable Leader who brought it about. To lose your CCP membership is probably worse than death. If you are a truly faithful Communist, anyway.

Happy new year, everyone!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Animated Movies from Shijiazhuang: Soft-Power Tools?

Main Link:
Activeley develop Domestic and Foreign High-End Cartoon Industry, “Going out” in Great Strides (积极开拓国内外高端市场动漫产业大步“走出去”)
Links within quotes and blockquotes added during translation.

China needed to build a sound, modern culture market system, the “Culture Document” (or “cultural decision”), approved by the 6th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee, stipulated in October 2011.

The focus must be on the development of books and other publications, digital audio and video products, performing arts and entertainment, television series, cartoons, animation, and [computer] games, and similar markets, for the further perfection of a comprehensive international Chinese platform on fairs and exhibitions, etc.

According to Shijiazhuang News Net (石家庄新闻网), the local cartoon industry is doing just that:

Since 2006 , under the close attention of the CCP municipal committee and the municipal government, our city’s cartoon industry has developed rapidly, and achieved notable results in satisfying the city’s needs of spiritual civilizsation, in spreading advanced culture, in enriching the masses’ lives, promoting the healthy adolescence of the young, and fostering the growth of a new economy. During the past seven years, no matter if established by locals or by companies who came to Shijiazhuang from elsewhere, they have enjoyed all the benefits of Shijiazhuang’s cartoon-industry policies, environment, and prospects. On this foundation, “cartoons made in Shijiazhuang” have gained the courage to display themselves, to develop markets, and with the advantages in branding, high-end orientation and originality, they have drawn widespread attention from industries at home and abroad.

2006年以来, 在市委、市政府的高度重视下,我市动漫产业迅速发展,在满足市民精神文化需求、传播先进文化、丰富群众生活、促进青少年健康成长、培育新的经济增长点方 面,取得了显著成效。7年来,无论是本土动漫企业还是来石创业的动漫公司,都享受到了石家庄动漫产业政策、环境、前景的利与好。 在此基础上,“石家庄原创动漫”勇于展示自我、敢于开拓市场,以品牌化、高端化、原创化的优势,引起了国内外业界的广泛关注。

By Shijiazhuang Newsnet reporter Wang Xin
本报记者王欣

As the saying goes, good wine needs no bush*). However, this doesn’t apply in today’s increasingly competitive markets. After several years of development and carefully ripening the wine, its sweet smell attracts many investors and company founders. At the same time, cartoonists from Shijiazhuang also seize the opportunities of actively exploring domestic and foreign markets, to take Shijiazhuang cartoons to bigger arenas.

俗话说,酒香不怕巷子深。然而,在市场竞争日趋激烈的今天,好酒也怕巷子深。经过几年的发展,我市动漫产业如同一坛精心酝酿的老酒,持续散发出馨香的气 息,吸引了众多投资者、创业者前来。与此同时,石家庄动漫人也抓住机遇,积极开拓国内国外市场,把石家庄动漫推向更广阔的舞台。

The Shijiazhuang Animation Institute‘s (石家庄动漫协会), that of the beneficial support of the city government and the conducive industrial environment had all become the envy of companies elsewhere, according to Shijiazhuang Newsnet. “Publicity” (宣传) and promotion had made Shijiazhuang’s cartoon industry better known in China and abroad, making people coming to Shijiazhuang to seek cooperation. A Western Australian Film Office (西澳大利亚州政府电影融资发展局 – I’m not familiar with Australia’s film industry or the industry’s official promotional institutes) was currently seeking a cooperation partner with the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute’s assistance, according to the report. The Australians had been impressed with the originality and production levels of Shijiazhuang’s industry and had since visited four times, Shijiazhuang Newsnet quotes a member of the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute, Zhang Maolan (张茂兰).

DeepCG Animation Science and Technology gets a particular mention in the report. The general manager, Wu Yifeng (武义峰), doesn’t seem to be too specific about his company’s current prospects in Europe, but is quoted as saying that South-East Asia was the most promising market for one of his company’s works, a cartoon movie about late Han dynasty general Zhao Yun, given its richness with Chinese culture.

The cartoon’s title seems to translate Zhao Yun and the Clicking Sound of the Box (赵云与咔哒盒子).

It seems to be based on a theme previously used in a Zhao Yun movie (but not a cartoon) made in Hong Kong, in 2010.

Shijiazhuang News Net is the online platform of Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), an official CCP paper.

In a review of the 17th Central cultural decision in October 2011, David Bandurski of the China Media Project (Hong Kong) appeared to be skeptical of the impact Chinese media and culture could have under political and ideological controls.

It may be time for a first assessment of how things are going for the “cultural industry” in China – especially when it comes to its record abroad. Personally, I have no clue about cartoons, and not even a taste for them. Stuff like Zhao Yun and the Box (a sample video here) should be judged by bloggers or critics who really are into the genre.

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Note

*) This isn’t an exact translation. The actual Chinese quote or proverb would be 酒香不怕巷子深 – something like the smell of wine isn’t afraid of a deep lane (or alley), meaning that good things will sell even without advertising them.

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Related

» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012
» A Low-Carbon Industry, Dec 2, 2011
» Shijiazhuang Cartoon School, CRI, Aug 20, 2009
» Go-Out Policy, Wikipedia, acc. 20130412
» Private investors, PD English, Aug 20, 2004

Friday, December 2, 2011

Culture is a Low-Carbon Industry: the 17th Central Committee’s “Cultural Decision”, Implemented on the Ground in Shijiazhuang

The latest leg of my translation of the CCP central committee’s “cultural decision” document, plus more links concerning that document, can be found here.

The following is a translation of an article by Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), published online on Friday. The article isn’t part of the actual document, but is meant to describe the document’s implementation “on the ground” in Shijiazhuang.

Shijiazhuang is the capital of Hebei Province.

Main Link: http://www.sjzdaily.com.cn/main/2011-12/02/content_1443135.htm

By this newspaper’s reporter, Yue Jinhong (岳金宏). The other day, in order to carry out and implement the spirit of the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session, the provincial 8th Party Congress and the 9th City Party Congress and to promote the provincial capital’s great cultural development and great bloom, member of the city’s municipal committee’s standing committee and propaganda bureau director Sun Wanyong (孙万勇) came to the Animated-Cartoon-Building project1) in  Gaocheng City‘s Qiaodong District, for on-site inspection and exploration.
日前,为贯彻落实党的十七届六中全会、省第八次党代会和市第九次党代会精神,推进省会文化大发展大繁荣,市委常委、宣传部长孙万勇就我市文化产业发展、文化项目建设等情况到藁城市、桥东区、动漫大厦项目现场等地进行了实地调研。

At the building, Sun examined the progress on-site and listened to reports about the project’s development. Sun Wanyong granted affirmation to the planning, orientation and progress and pointed out the major tasks in the work on the building’s outside design, the childrens’ theme restaurant design, the deepening of the career experience hall’s rearrangements, etc..
在石家庄市动漫大厦暨中国动漫衍生产品集散交易中心项目现场,孙万勇实地查看了施工现场,听取了项目进展情况汇报。孙万勇对大厦的整体项目立项、定位及工作进展予以肯定,指出下一步要重点做好大厦的外立面设计、策划动漫主题儿童餐厅、深入修改职业体验馆等工作。

In Gaocheng City, Sun Wanyong successively visited the Tuntou Palace Lantern village2), and Hebei Renowned Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. (formerly China Drumbeat Factory). In a discussion that followed, he gave the existing foundations of Gaocheng City’s cultural industry rather high ratings. He demanded that Gaocheng City should conscientiously explore the ways of transformation from a big to a strong city of civilization, to continue to increase the engagement in the cultural causes, to actively guide the development of lantern, musical instrument etc. trades’ healthy development, to continue to write the great chapter of the cultural industry’s development, to adminstrate the cultural cause for the people and the masses well, and to be good pioneers at the entire city’s cultural construction.
在藁城市,孙万勇先后深入屯头宫灯专业村、河北名华乐器有限公司(原中华鼓乐厂)进行实地调研。在随后举行的座谈会上,孙万勇对藁城市已经拥有的文化产业基础给予较高评价。他要求藁城市认真研究怎样实现从文化大市到文化强市的转变,继续加大对文化事业的投入力度,积极引导宫灯产业和鼓乐厂等文化产业健康发展,继续做好文化产业这篇大文章,多为人民群众办好文化事业,在文化建设上当好全市排头兵。

On November 30, in Qiaodong District, Sun Wanyong successively inspected the History and Culture Gallery at Minsheng Road, Letai Center, Zhongshan Warring States Cultural and Artistic Research Institute and other locations, and listened to reports from Shijiazhuang Space Animation City, Splendid International City and other projects, as well as a general report about Qiaodong’s general cultural construction. After listening, he pointed out that Qiaodong had always attached importance and priority to cultural construction, had incorporated cultural construction in its economic and social plans, and had marched to the forefront within the city. In its future work, Qiaodong District should play its cards in the areas of history and culture, originality, and in the cultural market well, brightly put the goal of a strong cultural district forward, make use of the good existing foundations, master the construction of its projects, achieve great breakthroughs, achieve great development and bloom for the entire city, and contribute to Shijiazhuang’s well-being.
11月30日,孙万勇到桥东区调研文化建设情况,先后察看了民生路历史文化长廊、勒泰中心、中山战国文化艺术研究院等地,听取了太空动漫城、锦绣国际城等项目以及桥东区文化建设总体情况汇报。孙万勇在听取情况后指出,桥东区历来重视文化建设工作,将文化建设摆上了重要位置,纳入了经济社会整体规划,在市里走在了前列。在今后的工作中,桥东区要打好历史文化牌、打好文化创意牌、打好文化市场牌,鲜明地提出建设文化强区这一目标,利用好现在的基础,抓好项目建设,争取有大的突破,为全市实现文化大发展大繁荣、建设幸福石家庄做贡献。

At the end of his exploration, Sun Wanyong emphasized that the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session had called for the great development and bloom of culture, and marked a new stage in our country’s cultural construction. Culture is an industry low in resource consumption, with no great negative impacts on the environment, a typical case of a low-carbon, green economy. To carry out and implement the spirit of the 17th Central Committee’s Sixth Plenary Session, our city has already made it clear that by 2015, the cultural industry’s development shall become a pillar of [Shijiazhuang’s] national economy. The entire city’s propaganda and cultural systems must establish a strong political conscience, an awareness of the overall situation, a sense of responsibility and opportunity, a high degree of cultural consciousness and cultural self-confidence, closely connect to our city’s reality, by high standards and vigorous measures plan and promote cultural reform’s development, continuously strengthen cultural development’s overall strength and competitiveness, and make efforts to initiate the new situation of our provincial capital’s cultural reform and development.
调研结束后,孙万勇强调,党的十七届六中全会吹响了文化大发展大繁荣的号角,标志着我国文化建设进入了一个新的发展阶段。文化产业资源消耗低、环境污染少、科技含量高,是典型的低碳经济、绿色经济。为贯彻落实党的十七届六中全会精神,我市已明确提出,至2015年要把文化产业发展成为国民经济支柱性产业。全市宣传文化系统要树立强烈的政治意识、大局意识、责任意识和机遇意识,树立高度的文化自觉和文化自信,紧密结合我市实际,以更高的标准、更有力的措施谋划和推动文化改革发展,不断增强文化发展的整体实力和竞争力,努力开创省会文化改革发展的新局面。

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Notes

1) Shijiazhuang is trying to build itself into a cartoon harbor of the vast country (i. e. China), China Radio International (CRI) reported in August 2009. Some pictures and English remarks were made available by Hebei’s provincial government in 2010 and in 2011 respectively. The Animated-Cartoon Building is scheduled to become – or to include – a place for exhibiting and trading cartoons, and according to a schedule published by Hebei News Net in October this year, that place will be ready for business early in 2012.

2) Tuntou Palace Lantern Village is described in a China Radio International article / broadcast of 2008 here.

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Related

» Cartoons: Lord Yegong Loves the Dragon, June 16, 2010
» Obituary: Hua Junwu, 1915 – 2010, June 14, 2010

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

17th CC 6th Plenary Session: “Reinforcing and Updating Party’s Guidance on Cultural Activities”

A one-liner from Xinhua news agency is quoted by Huanqiu Shibao:

The Party’s 17th Central Committee’s sixth plenary session has passed the CCP’s Resolution Concerning the Deepening of Cultural Reform and the Promotion of the Development of Socialist Culture and several other Issues.

To go somewhat more into detail, Huanqiu, in another report, quotes a Japanese online article, published by Sankei Shimbun:

Huanqiu Web’s Zhao Wenjie. According to a report by Japan’s “Sankei Shimbun” on October 18, the Chinese Communist Party’s 17th Central Committee’s sixth plenary session with cultural reform as its main topic ended on October 18. According to the communique, China will, by cartoon movies, films, and other methods,  invigorate China’s soft power, and thus strengthen expectations for its international competitiveness and influence.

环球网记者赵文杰报道,据日本《产经新闻》10月18日报道,以文化体制改革为主要议题的中国共产党第十七届中央委员会第六次全体会议于18日闭幕。根据全会公报上的信息,中国表达出通过动画片、电影等手段振兴文化提高中国的软实力,并以此强化国际竞争力和影响力的期望。

“Sankei Shimbun” comments that measured by GDP, China as an economic entity is second only to America, and that China’s “hard power” had increased rapidly in recent years. But within the international community, speculation about a “China threat” had continued. Therefore, China had understood that it was necessary to strengthen the country’s culture and propagation capabilities, to enhance its international image.

《产经新闻》评论说,作为GDP仅次于美国的世界第二大经济体,中国的“硬实力”近年来快速提高。但在国际社会上,“中国威胁论”却不断被炒作。因此,中国明白,有必要加强本国文化的对外传播能力,从而提升自己的国际形象。

The report also notes that the session also decided to open the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be held during the second half of 2012.

报道还注意到,本次会议还决定在2012年下半年召开中国共产党的第十八次党代表大会。

In its first paragraph, Sankei Shimbun also seems to refer to domestic ideological tightening, and the internet – maybe a Japanese-speaking reader can help to translate this paragraph:

Update, October 26, 2011: Changmi has provided an English translation:

The 6th Plenary Session of the 17th CC, which emphasized “reform of cultural systems,” concluded on the 18th, according to an official communique. The policy is to boost China’s “soft power” through promotion of cultural elements like animation and movies and thus raise China’s global competitiveness and influence, while tightening ideological discipline domestically as the internet-using population continues to increase. [end of update]

「文化体制改革」を主要議題にした中国共産党の第17期中央委員会第6回総会(6中総会)が18日閉幕し、コミュニケを発表。アニメや映画など文化振興で中国の「ソフトパワー」を高め、国際的な競争力と影響力強化を図る一方で、インターネット人口が増加する中、国内の思想引き締めを強める方針だ。

The Chinese government’s (i. e. the CCP’s) official website (in English), on Tuesday, quoted the central committee’s decision or statement as follows:

The country will work to improve Chinese citizens’ sense of identity and confidence in Chinese culture, according to a statement issued after the session.

Culture is emerging as an important part of the country’s comprehensive competitiveness in today’s world, the statement said.

China is facing a difficult task in protecting “cultural security” and feeling the urgency of enhancing its soft power and the international influence of its own culture, the statement said.

[…]

The statement noted that, as a major form of support for national unity and a source of creativity, China’s cultural industry will play a more critical part in the country’s economic and social development.

The country should not only provide its people with an ample material life, but also a healthy and rich cultural life, the statement said.

The statement said the government will devote more resources to boosting public cultural services and speed up the reform of the cultural industry.

According to Asahi Shimbun (not to be confused with Sankei Shimbun, see above),

The statement also called for tighter control of information. It called for the need to “step up and improve actions toward the media and public opinions” and to “develop a more healthy Internet culture.” To do so, “the party’s guidance on cultural activities should be reinforced and updated,” the statement said.

Zambia’s The Citizen is full of quotation marks and quotes former SCMP China editor Willy Wo-Lap Lam as saying that

The reform of the cultural system has to do with ensuring that the media, publications, movies, Internet, et cetera serve the party’s goal of galvanising patriotic and nationalistic sentiments. […] This will mean even tighter control over people’s freedom of expression, especially on the Internet.

The author is Goh Chai Hin, a China correspondent who apparently works for several different news agencies. Zambia itself is an example of lacking Chinese influence. In September,

Michael Sata, a 74-year-old veteran politician who had whipped up not-so-subtle anti-Chinese sentiment (China runs several big mines in Zambia), handily won the presidency […],

the New York Times reported last month.

Last year, Chinese managers opened fire on protesters at a huge coal mine in southern Zambia, and though the Zambian government initially indicated that the Chinese managers would be punished, the charges were quietly dropped. The shootings outraged many Zambians who resent China’s enormous economic influence over their country, where most people live on less than $5 a day, and the episode seemed to feed straight into Mr. Sata’s political campaign.

No doubt: China will expand its propagation capabilities (see Huanqiu Shibao’s quotes from Sankei Shimbun above) in Africa, too.

If China Radio International‘s (CRI) existing service for Western countries is anything to go by, broadcasts for Zambia will discuss matters like these:

“Among all the courses you’ve taken in school, which one was your favorite?” Or: “Do you usually sleep well?”

Using an icebreaker should be the best way to make stubborn miners talk.  Ask questions first, shoot later.

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Related

» 17th CC 6th Plenary Session, October 15, 2011
» More Budget Cuts for BBC Foreign Coverage, Shortwave Central, Oct 10, 2011
» Quote: Makuwerere Bwititi, January 15, 2010
» Go, tell it from Global Local Sticks TV, Oct 22, 2009
» Three Eight Hundreds, April 19, 2009

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hua Junwu: “Lord Yegong loves the Dragon”

Johnny Erling, China correspondent of German daily Die Welt, remembers Hua Junwu.

The drawing shows a Chinese cadre, wrapped like a baby. Above it the mocking line: “Who never walks, can’t fall and will forever stay in his diapers.” The old master of Chinese satire thus urged the Chinese Communist Party to show more courage in its reform policies, three years after the Cultural Revolution had ended. It was his symbolic picture of a new beginning.

But at old age, he chose a different cartoon as his favorite one, one he had drawn much later. He called it “True Friend”. It features a woodpecker pecking the maggots from a tree. When I paid a visit in 2007, he turned 92, he said: “In truth, the woodpecker and the tree are good friends. But to this day, the tree doesn’t know.”

[…]

Hua Junwu was already well-known among peers when he […] joined Mao’s guerilla forces in Yan’an, where he became a member of the Communist Party in 1940. He was in close contact with artists like Hu Feng and writer Ding Ling. When Mao Zedong, in the 1950s, branded both of them figureheads of “bourgeois” and “counter-revolutionary intellectuals”, Hua Junwu too had to show his flag and vilify them with cartoons. He apologized to Hu Feng and Ding Ling decades later when they were released from the labor camps.

Despite his loyalty to the CCP regime, Hua wouldn’t abandon his passion for satire. To him, satire was the essence of a cartoon. Beijing’s leaders looked at it quite differently. Cartoonists had to praise the system and ask themselves “if socialism was ridiculous”. Only the enemy was to be ridiculed. Cartoons of CCP leaders were (and are) taboo. Hua referred to this as a feudal heritage. Respected for his foreign-policy cartoons, he was able to avoid the repressions of the 1960s.

“But during the Cultural Revolution, I was in trouble, too.” He wasn’t allowed to draw between 1966 and 1976. The cartoonist was dragged into and humiliated in  mass-criticism sessions under banners such as “Down with the black chief artist Hua Junwu”, arrested as vice chairman of the artists association for months, and exiled to a Tianjin cadre school.

There, he had to muck out hog houses, and carry water buckets. Red Guards found alleged offenses against Mao in his drawings: “In 1963, I had made a cartoon against specialized books nobody could read without falling asleep. As I drew four books, the critics called it a hint to Mao’s four selected works.”

[…]

Even in the 1990s, some cartoons still earned Hua trouble because Beijing leaders mistakenly took them as referring to them. “To scent allusions everywhere is deeply rooted in our culture”, he said. In 1979, when the politburo first encouraged, but then repressed the “Wall of Democracy”, he drew a dragon and a cadre running away from it.

He named his cartoon “Yegong loves the Dragon”*), hinting to an old Chinese legend about a lover of painted dragon who panics as he meets a real monster. Hua made his cartoon of two characters meaning “democracy”.

Chinese people have a sense of humor. Of that he was convinced. “I want to combine our national culture and cartoons into an art form of its own.”  Hua developed his own, distinctive style. He used a paint-brush and rice paper, and illustrated traditional expressions and symbols.

[…]

*)

The Legend

Lord Yegong was known for his love of dragons. He had them painted on the walls and carved on the pillars of his palace. His robes were embroidered with dragons, and his hat was decorated with dragons. When a real dragon in the sky heard of Lord Yegong’s love of dragons, it flew to his house. The dragon put its head into the southern window of the house and its tail into the northern window. When Lord Yegong saw the dragon, he trembled with fear and hurriedly hid himself. What Lord Yegong loved were the fake dragons he had constructed.

Quoted by and from Chinese Women Traversing Diaspora, Sharon K. Hom, Oxford, New York, 1999

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Related
Obituary: Hua Junwu, 1915 – 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Obituary: Hua Junwu, 1915 – 2010

Hua Junwu (华君武) died in Beijing on Sunday, aged 95.

Xinhua wrote on Monday that

Hua Junwu’s original name was Hua Chao [华潮]. He was native of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, and born in Hangzhou on April 24, 1915. In his early years, he attended Zhejiang First Secondary Provincial School [浙江省立第一中学] and Shanghai Datong University High School [上海大同大学高中部, in an organizational measure in 1952, its departments were allocated to to Fudan University and Tongji University]. He initially worked for a bank and the China Travel Agency [中国旅行社] in 1936.

After the outbreak of the Japanese war, Xinhua writes, Hua was involved in propaganda against the enemy, and most of his further biography can be found in this China Daily article (which adds the information that Hua was apparently no model student of his times, but with good revolutionary characteristics from early on). From Yanan in 1938, he became a Northeastern Times (东北日报) reporter in 1946, having joined the Chinese Communist Party in April 1940. During the early 1940s, he was a current-affairs cartoonist for Liberation Daily (解放日报) in Yan’an, and a co-organizer of an Ironic Cartoon Exhibition (讽刺画展) with Cai Ruohong (蔡若虹) and other cartoonists. He was received by Mao Zedong back then, writes Xinhua.

War and Popular Culture, Resistance in Modern China, 1937 – 1945, by Chang-tai Hung, London 1994, offers some background to Hua’s reception by chairman Mao, and its purpose:

In the eyes of Mao, however, the early Yan’an drawings had some serious shortcomings. They focused too heavily on problems existing within the CCP, paying insufficient attention to the Communists’ political struggle against external foes. In short, as one modern Communist art critic put it, the artists had failed to realize that there were two major enemies: “the national enemy [Japan] and the class enemy [the Guomindang].”[..]

For Mao, nowhere was this deficiency more evident than in the famous “Three Man Satirical Cartoon Show” (Sanren fengci manhua zhan) held in Yan’an in February 1942. In their introduction to this exhibition, Hua Junwu, Zhang E, and Cai Ruohong declared their purpose in holding such a show: “We have seen the beauty and radiance of the new society. But we have also witnessed its ugly and dark sides, which are inherited from the past. These archaic dregs cling to the new society and are gradually corrupting us. Our responsibility as cartoonists is to root them out and bury them.”[..]

The significance of Mao’s meeting with Hua Junwu, Zhang E, and Cai Ruohong can be understood only within the context of the Rectification Campaign. It was, in essence, a reaffirmation of what Mao called “concrete Marxism.” Different forms of art, according to Mao, must be channeled or refashioned to meet the current needs. And in this task, the CCP had a responsibility to take command. He once again asserted the Party’s authority to dictate the direction of art in the Communist areas.

(…)

The style and content of cartoonists’ work underwent a series of adjustments after Mao’s “Talks.” Instead of focusing on party cadres, cartoons now targeted “the aggressors, exploiters, and oppressed,” and artists took pains to reach a wider audience through a closer and more realistic portrayal of the people’s life (the practice of “popularization” that Mao stipulated). While Cai Ruohong, a diehard Marxist, was so affected by Mao’s criticism that he admitted his past ideological errors and almost completely abandoned cartooning,[..] Hua Junwu took a more positive step: as Communist dramatists had done with their foreign models, he relinquished the style of Sapajou and Plauen from his Shanghai days and attempted to “sinicize” his art, incorporating folk idioms (such as proverbs) into his cartoons to present a more familiar look to the peasants. He and Zhang E also turned their drawing pens against the Guomindang.

Hua Junwu had started drawing cartoons in 1930, at the age of about 15, writes China Daily. In December 1998, the National Art Museum of China (中国美术馆) organized an exhibition of 131 cartoons drawn by Hua since September 1936.

Eastday television reporters (东方新闻) who interviewed some younger customers and readers in a bookstore found that not too many interviewees were familiar with the old cartoonist. “Not really”, a young lady told them with some pious unease, “it’s more the new cartoons. That kind of Japanese-influenced cartoons.”

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Related
Book Review: Gang then, Dynasty now, May 12, 2010

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You are silly, DPP…

… only very disturbed kids and grown-up retards would enjoy the MOEA’s “cartoons” anyway. Stop yelling and make a comic of Chairman Ma instead. And make sure it’s funnier than the one about Fa Sao and Yi-ge. Geez.

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