Communique No. 8: In China, communist propaganda has gone underground.
In fact, the only place you can see idealized posters of Mao and his cadres of heroic workers building utopian communities is in a basement level museum tucked away in a nondescript apartment building in downtown Shanghai.
The Propaganda Poster Museum is the private project of Yang Pei Ming, who supports this labor of love by selling admission tickets and gifts in this subterranean enclave of political nostalgia. If you leave your change, Yang will find you and return it.
Working from a closet-sized office, Yang is a soft-spoken, unobtrusive man who worried that the art of the posters and the turbulent history they document were in danger of disappearing in China. Over the past 15 years, he’s collected more than 5,000 posters and other artifacts of the Cold War and the Cultural Revolution.
In the go-go, free-wheeling market culture of modern Shanghai, it seems few locals drop in. The majority of the museum-goers look like Americans and other Westerners trying to come to terms with their outdated images of China.
China remains under the rule of the Communist Party, but its edges have softened considerably. There’s no longer a Propaganda Ministry. It’s been rebranded the Publicity Ministry, or, as some prefer, and Information Ministry.
Perhaps that goes to show that the Chinese are no less image conscious than they were in the days of Socialist Realism, with its militaristic themes and soaring depictions of the people’s spirit.
Star Tribune Recommends
More From Hot Dish Politics
The Star Tribune's morning political newsletter
As President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to rock the Capitol, Sen. Amy Klobuchar anticipates the Senate Judiciary Committee will play an important role in the aftermath.
Rep. Erik Paulsen called for an independent investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election following President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, going further than many GOP lawmakers in the aftermath of a move that has roiled the Capitol over the last day.
The attack ads are already starting against House Republicans who approved the controversial healthcare overhaul last week.
Reps. Erik Paulsen, Jason Lewis and Tom Emmer were among 217 House Republicans who voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.