Media and Advertising

Images of socialist morality: patriotism

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The Beijing News is running a series of public service advertisements in support of the Eight Honors and Disgraces campaign for socialist morality. The illustrations are simple and clean - the ad for "follow science," for example, is a black-and-white sketch of Albert Einstein formed out of his famous formula. Cliche, perhaps, but a bit more understated than photos of rockets blasting off or images of men and women in white coats working their microscopes.

The image here, of a man watering a tree, illustrates the "Love the country" line - the first depiction I've seen that doesn't involve flags, saluting schoolchildren, or major national landmarks. The smiley-face on the watering can is a nice touch, but you have to wonder if the artist isn't making a veiled statement about territorial integrity by depicting the southern islands as falling leaves.

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At any rate, it's certainly more subtle than this cartoon from Guangming Daily, which also compares the nation to a tree.

On the left, a despicable character holding a begging bowl trades "secrets" to a familiar tall man in tails and pinstripes. On the right, another familiar figure in glasses with his hands on a document labeled "independence" cuts away at a tree root with the saw of "separatism."

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Occasionally the barbs turn inward. Accompanying an article decrying patriotic graffiti on national monuments is this cartoon that mocks the "national shame" sort of patriotism . The photographer says to his subject, "Look a little more indignant, a little more determined."
 
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