Morning Sun

Smash the Old World!

Jiang Qing Goes to the Movies

Jiang Qing (aka Lan Ping, Li Jin) launched her career as a political film critic shortly after the founding of the People's Republic of China, playing a leading role in the denunciation of The Life of Wu Xun (Wu Xun zhuan, 1950), directed by Sun Yu and staring Zhao Dan. The attack was part of Mao Zedong's efforts to purge the arts and educational worlds of lingering bourgeois and humanist tendencies. This initial foray on Jiang Qing's part, who had participated in an investigation of the historical Wu Xun (1838-1896) under the name Li Jin, was followed by what would later appear to be an uncharacteristic silence, one she would make up for amply during the Cultural Revolution era.

Jiang Qing would claim that in response to her physician's advice during her convalescence from a bout of debilitating illness in the early 1960s, she sought diversion (and perhaps solace) in stage and screen productions. However, she would fulminate, what she witnessed on the supposedly socialist stage and screen of China contravened the letter and the spirit of the Party line, so much so that she used her role as Mao's wife and as a loyal student of his Thought, as well as her increasingly close relationship with Lin Biao and his spouse, Ye Qun, to support the revolutionization of the arts.

The result was her own attacks on traditional culture, socialist-era cinema and theatre, and a general denunciation of the arts produced during the first decade and a half of the People's Republic.

See excerpts from films denounced by Jiang Qing.

See images of Jiang Qing from throughout her life.

More information about feature films is also available.

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