Tag Archives: Propaganda

The Gulag Aperture: Hollywood Becomes Handmaiden To China’s Communist Party

On New Year’s Day, China Central Television (CCTV) unveiled its newest “soft power” entertainment media venture, whose purpose is to extend China’s global media influence. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the overriding directive of this new collection of television stations and news agencies will be to “follow the party line and promote ‘positive propaganda as the main theme.’”

The CCTV announcement compounds the growing risk that increased Chinese investment will entice Hollywood into volunteering itself as a propaganda division of the Communist Party of China (CPC). And if these trends continue, the Western world’s outlet for Chinese dissenters will be closed.

China’s film industry has in recent years grown approximately 34% annually and generated $6.8 billion in 2015. While many applaud the very modest political reforms that sometimes complement China’s market liberalization, one should be wary of the country’s iron grip on its entertainment industry.

China’s industry players are inextricably bound to the CPC, as evidenced by the ascent of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man. Jianlin’s successes are a product of quid pro quo arrangements between himself and the CPC’s top officials. Further, Jianlin is a delegate to the CPC congress and was a high-level advisor in China’s faux legislature from 2008 to 2013. Today, CPC delegate Jianlin can count several American awards shows, including the Golden Globes, the Billboard and American Music Awards, and even AMC Theaters as part of his recently accrued collection.

Continue reading at Forbes.


North Korea’s Art Army

Today, North Korea threatens to “burn Manhattan to ashes.” Yesterday, Kim Jong-un decided to ramp-up the country’s nuclear capacities. Tomorrow, the hermit kingdom will test miniature warheads. But while most of the world focuses on these imminent threats, North Korea is discreetly expanding its reach by other means: art. North Korea’s art army has been building ideologically influenced statues and monuments in places like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, even Germany.

North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio is thought to be one of the biggest art production studios in the world. Founded by Kim Il-sung in 1959, the state-run institution is known for its over-the-top Soviet-style artwork. Its work ranges from oil painting, to ceramics, to sculpture, to woodcutting, and even propaganda. Best known for having built every statue and art on display in North Korea, Mansudae artists are the only ones considered prominent enough to be allowed to paint the Kim dynasty.

Read the rest on Dissident, here.