Extra Credit- Introduce an Image

1967 photo of Chinese peasants reading Mao’s books

This image shows a group of peasants lined up, and all of them are reading books. One man stands in front of the group. A woman is holding a portrait of Mao Ze Dong. The photo was taken on July 7, 1967 in the Nanshanglo administrative district, according to an NPR article that uses it. I could not find out who the photographer was, but it was published by the Xinhua News Agency, which is the PRC’s official news agency. The Flickr album that I linked under the photo said that its original caption in the news was: ”Every day, prior to starting work in the field, young people and young girls read and meditate together some of ”Mao Zedong Thoughts”.

The photo relates to our class discussions this week because it was taken during the Cultural Revolution. This was a time period where the CCP wanted to remove capitalist and traditional aspects of the PRC and boost support for communism. During the Cultural Revolution, it was common for people to carry little red books of Mao’s quotes, and it looks like that’s what the peasants in this photo were reading. Additionally, Chinese people drew large character posters taking up entire walls to spread the communist message. Since the peasants are all lined up and posed the same way, the photo looks staged to me. Furthermore, the news agency owned by the CCP published it so it is probably propaganda. The CCP was trying to show that these peasants were role models for the rest of China because of how devoted they looked to Mao and his teachings, even to the point of carrying a portrait of Mao into the middle of the field.






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