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Comics Art in China$
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John A. Lent and Xu Ying

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496811745

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496811745.001.0001

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Liberation, Maoist Campaigns, and Cartoons, 1949–1976

Liberation, Maoist Campaigns, and Cartoons, 1949–1976

(p.79) Chapter 4 Liberation, Maoist Campaigns, and Cartoons, 1949–1976
Comics Art in China

John A. Lent

Xu Ying

University Press of Mississippi

When the Communists triumphed in 1949, they held congresses to discuss how to implement Mao’s thoughts on art, expressed at Yan’an seven years before―art was to be an ideological weapon to promote Communist and nationalist causes, made accessible to and understandable for the masses. For the first twenty-seven years after Liberation, cartoonists had to align themselves with the Party or government on the Korean War, the Maoist movement against writer/critic Hu Feng, and Mao’s “The Hundred Flowers,” anti-Rightists, and “Great Leap Forward” campaigns. Uncertainty and turmoil kept cartoonists cautious and insecure, futilely trying to abide by shifting policies on the relationship between art and politics. These campaigns culminated in the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), which unleashed monstrous forces that seriously altered all aspects of China, especially artists and intellectuals. Rebel groups burned art, physically attacked artists, and destroyed their organizations. Many cartoonists were victims of these onslaughts; they were denied the right to draw, arrested, jailed, or sent to the countryside to do hard labor for very long periods. However, cartooning continued in various forms throughout this decade.

Keywords:   Maoist art, Liberation, Korean War, Campaigns, Cultural Revolution, Communism, repression

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