"Red" TV dramas arouse patriotism in China's younger generation

08:37, July 21, 2011      

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A veritable feast of "red" TV shows and movies has dominated the country's airwaves and silver screens this summer, as the Communist Party of China (CPC) seeks to cater to younger tastes in the wake of the 90th anniversary of its founding.

Typically involving young, attractive actors and dramatic love stories, the shows and movies have attracted a younger crowd of patriots.

Jiang Yi, a 17-year-old high school student from Shijiazhuang, the capital city of north China's Hebei Province, said that she would rather spend several hundred yuan to purchase a new dress than buy a book about the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which costs only a few dozen yuan.

Jiang is not a special case. Youngsters who have grown up with the development of the Internet and Hollywood blockbusters have little enthusiasm about the history of the CPC. This has posed a challenge for the Party, as it must find a more effective way to encourage young people to be patriotic without coming off as being patronizing or boring.

Young people lined up in droves to see "The Founding of a Party," a film released on June 15 that starred an ensemble cast of 173 well-known Chinese movie stars. The film was centered around the history of the founding of the CPC.

"I was deeply impressed when I saw students in the movie parading around and shouting slogans on the street," said Jiang, "especially since they were played by my favorite stars."

Han Sanping, the director of the film, admitted that he chose extremely popular actors in order to draw more people to the film, even though many of the famous actors only had small cameo roles.

"The first step is to draw attention," Han said. "After that, people may find that they have the patience to follow the plot of the film," he said.

"We read a lot of historical accounts in our textbooks when we were high school students," a 21-year-old college student named Wang Xiaobei said, "but I forget them easily because I only learned them so I could pass my exams."

However, upon mentioning "The Founding of a Party," her eyes lit up with excitement.

"It was a brand-new feeling to see my idols dressed in historical clothing," she said.

Patriotic dramas also invaded the country's TV screens this July. "My Youth in Yan'an," "China in 1921" and "Chinese Women Soldiers on the Long March" have all become popular "red" dramas since hitting airwaves.

Xia Xueluan, a social psychology expert from Peking University, said that the country needs to find a new way to educate young people and give them a sense of patriotism.

However, some people, particularly parents of the youth who are being targeted by the new shows and films, have argued that the shows may misrepresent history and mislead young people who don't have a solid understanding of actual historical events.

Xia suggested that the producers of the shows and films should keep their responsibilities to their audiences in mind when writing the plots of their works.

"Young people should know that TV shows are a type of art. They should have their own judgment," Xia said.

Source: Xinhua
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