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Living Revolution | Heroes

Heroes are a central element of popular socialist culture, providing models for individual appearance or behavior. A variety of cultural media are used to present heroic images: feature films and stage productions glorified and romanticized heroes in the Chinese Revolution; famous books were made into films and films were turned into comic books. Certain characters, images, or stories were especially popular and have been particularly enduring, such as the soldier Lei Feng.

When complete, this section will include images, movie clips, book excerpts, articles, posters, artwork, and other examples of the widespread impact of heroes on popular culture.

Video excerpts: The Red Lantern | The Red Detachment of Women | Heroic Little Sisters on the Grassland

Some general categories of heroes will include:

The Great Leaders - Mao, Jiang Qing, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Sun Yatsen, Lu Xun, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping. (Some of these people were also, at various stages of their public lives, Enemies).

The Soldier - Lei Feng, Huang Jiguang, Qiu Shaoyun. | Images: Soldiers | See also the PLA section of this site.

The Worker - Wang Jinxi, Shi Chuanxiang (steel worker, coal miner, construction worker) | Images: Textile Workers

The Peasant - Chen Yonggui (see also Dazhai) | Images: Peasants' Paintings

The Ethnic minority

The Foreign Friend - Norman Bethune

Some of their common characteristics: Heroes build and defend socialism and the motherland. They often have action-figure physiques. They express three primary emotions - determination, joy, and class anger. A frequent pose shows them with raised arms, clenched fists, and steely gaze. See also Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Posters for images of model heroes.

Related Readings - Available on Chinese Propaganda Posters



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