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Special Feature: Mao Today: A Political Icon for an Age of Prosperity

Propaganda and Pastiche

Visions of Mao in Founding of a Republic, Beginning of the Great Revival, and Let the Bullets Fly1
Sebastian Veg
p. 41-53


The two Mao films of 2009 and 2011 set a new standard in the confluence of commercial and propaganda productions in terms of sheer scale. While they are not fundamentally new in repackaging propaganda as entertainment, or even in co-opting parodic elements within official discourse, this essay argues that, viewed against the background of recent policy speeches, they contribute to defining the new “mainstream socialist culture” set out as a cultural policy goal by Hu Jintao. By the same thrust, they redefine the figure of Mao and the role of the CCP in an attempt to stake out a popular consensus on the contemporary Chinese polity.

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1  The author is profoundly grateful to Geremie Barmé, Arif Dirlik, Christoph Steinhardt, Kristof Van den Troost, and the anonymous reviewers of this article for their attentive reading and invaluable comments.

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Bibliographical reference

Sebastian Veg, « Propaganda and Pastiche », China Perspectives, 2012/2 | 2012, 41-53.

Electronic reference

Sebastian Veg, « Propaganda and Pastiche », China Perspectives [Online], 2012/2 | 2012, Online since 30 June 2015, connection on 22 September 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Sebastian Veg

Director of the CEFC

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