Choosy Beggar Books

Mao-Era Cartoons

Posted in International Comics by mvblair on December 8, 2016

One blog that I frequently check is Everyday Life in Maoist China maintained by Covell Meyskens. The author scours Chinese websites to find pictures, mostly from the days of Mao or thereabouts, and reposts them. Lots of great, old photos that are not collected elsewhere and that I would never be able to come across alone. I was delighted to see this post with scans of old political cartoons.

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A few of the cartoons show some pretty ugly racism directed especially toward the Japanese, though one of the cartoons shows particular sensitivity to African-Americans. If I could read Chinese, I’m sure I could comment more on the content, but at least the artwork in is as good and accessible as anything in the West. Several of the cartoons really shine and make great statements, especially from the anti-war side. Although, those anti-war cartoons are also somewhat hypocritical (not from the artists’ points of view, but the state’s) given the People’s Republic of China’s rampant militism. Frequent commentary in the political cartoons of communist countries includes the commentaries on racism in the United States. This is a fine and legitimate target for political cartoons, but again, given China’s treatment of minorities, it is also somewhat hypocritical.

For more on Chinese cartoons, check out this post about Sanmao and this post about Battle of Wits: We Are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards.

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