Chinese Poster

This poster was published in 1983 just as the Party was continuing to advocate against corruption. The writing reads, “Foster a correct spirit, resist the evil spirit, resist corruption, never get involved with it,” representing many facets of the Party’s goals. First of all, the male appears to be a confident, relaxed white collar worker who was keeping logs on whatever work he was doing. It appears as though her is a person of authority, probably just regionally or locally. The man that he represents however is likely recreated all over China, with workers, businessmen, civil servants, and village heads. The motion of his hand shows his denial of accepting seemingly “corrupt” or “bad” gifts. He does not want to accept the bottles of liqueur presented with a bow, or the cartons of cigarets. Both of which are bad for your health, but likely represent broader issues. One such issue is bribery. The man in power, with his confident, yet temperate facial expression, is denying a bribe. He is fulfilling the parties aim of not being corrupt.

Where is it succeeds is in its humanity. It is not unrealistic for workers to receive gifts, even if as simple as wine and cigarets. And he doesn’t make a huge scene about it or seem angry or obtuse. He simply raises his hand as if to say,” no thanks.” Small decisions such as that repeated throughout the entire country would become huge, and hopefully squash corruption.

2 Comments so far

  1.   Anthony Markish on February 6th, 2013

    I like this interpretation, kind of like an example on new male gender roles in the new administration.

  2.   zchen on February 8th, 2013

    I wonder about the origin of that hand pose. You see it often in Chinese posters. Is it inherited from Chinese opera poses? Or is it a sign of rejection as you suggested? I’d be interested to know why this pose is so commonly seen.