The Chinese people’s survival strategy is what sustains Xi’s dictatorship
When French luxury brand Dior posted a photo of a woman in Shanghai, it sparked controversy for allegedly discriminating against Chinese people. The controversy escalated and Dior had to remove the photo. Ms. Chen Man, the Chinese photographer who took the photo in question, apologized promising to “improve” her “ideology.”
A photograph advertising a fashion brand is believed to reflect artistic qualities that appeal to the viewer’s sensitivity.
When I saw Ms. Chen’s photo, I was amazed at how she removed the superficial concepts of beauty and ugliness to reveal the inner strength of Chinese women. The piercing eyes of the woman in the photo reflect the resilience of a Chinese woman who, rather than being swayed by the misogyny of this world, takes it and turns it to her advantage, living life with tenacity and perseverance.
But this was not accepted by the majority of Chinese. After massive backlash, Dior quickly removed the photo.
I believe Dior has exposed itself to criticism. An advertisement like this should have been carefully checked beforehand for its suitability with the sensibilities of the majority of Chinese people before deciding to use it.
In that sense, it’s understandable that the Chinese take offense at Dior’s mistaken assumption that their French aesthetic is the world standard.
But what surprised me the most in the midst of this uproar were the words Ms. Chen used in her apology.
âI was born and raised in China. I love my country deeply, âshe told the BBC.
Looking at Ms. Chen’s photo, I am fully convinced of her words. Her pride in the strength of Chinese women emanates from the photo.
The part of his apology that I’m not sure is this.
“As an artist, I am fully aware of my responsibility to document Chinese culture and showcase Chinese beauty through my work.”
Suffice to say that its intrinsic role is to promote China through its photography.
She also said, “I will learn about Chinese history, attend more relevant events and improve my ideology,” which is equivalent to saying that she will do her best as a loyal photographer for the Communist Party. Chinese.
Her comments surprised me as they came from a renowned photographer in the western world, which means that she could pursue her artistic freedom if she wanted to. But instead, she chose to apologize.
Maybe she apologized because it was the Chinese people’s survival strategy. She may have felt that it was best to position herself as “a photographer for China” to ensure her survival in Chinese society – especially if she resides in the country.
The mission of a loyal photographer
Still, I can’t help but be shocked at his words “improve my ideology”.
During the Cold War, artists from the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries sometimes sought exile in the West to gain freedom from their artistic endeavors.
It is the heart and soul of an artist to create works guided by the sensibilities that spring from within.
That is why I am amazed at Chen’s words, “I will improve my ideology,” meaning that she will improve her ideology to take pictures in accordance with the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.
Recently, China tightened its grip on the entertainment industry by banning “the promotion of distorted aesthetics,” according to NHK.
What China calls “distorted aesthetics” mainly refers to the androgynous aesthetic of male idols which have attracted large audiences in China.
It’s quite strange that a government is trying to guide the aesthetics of people, but what is even stranger is that people actually obey.
Secret fans of “androgynous” male idols among Chinese officials will continue to do their jobs as required, while keeping their fandom out of public view. Countless other Chinese fans will also come to terms with the fact that they can no longer enjoy their favorite idols because the government tells them to.
In other words, in China, even artists choose to stifle the freedom of their minds in their speeches and actions as a strategy for survival.
Remember that this survival strategy, which supports Xi Jinping’s dictatorship, has become the norm for the Chinese people. Just as their patriotism is prompted by the manipulation of information by the state.
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(Read the review in Japanese at this link.)
Author: Nanae Hasegawa
(Click here to read the article in Japanese.)