OUR DUMB CENTURY: Giant poster of Mao seizes power in China - Enormous placard now controls world's most populous nation

REPORTS FROM THE FRONTIERS OF HISTORY

Share
Related Topics
PEKING, CHINA, 2 OCTOBER 1949 - Ending a long and bitter civil war, the Chinese people today celebrated the transfer of power to a 15ft by 20ft poster of Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

After the new poster-led government was established, a large rally was held in China's Tien An Men square, with the poster looking out approvingly over the crowd from atop a high balcony. Thousands came to pay tribute to the picture, which now leads the most populous nation on earth.

"We have put our faith in this great poster," said one Chinese citizen in attendance.

The Rise of the Poster

Not much is known in the West about the ruling poster, except that it is said to be made of the finest Chinese silk-bond cardboard stock. Once a mere paper sign advertising the sale of pigs from a peasant farm in the village of Hsiang T'an, the poster grew in size and amassed a large following after serving as a banner in the war with Japan. Now a charismatic poster, it led troops across China to drive out the armies of Chiang Kai- shek during the civil war, ultimately forcing the Nationalists to Formosa under threat of severe paper cuts.

The new government's Central Governing Council is made up of some of the poster's top advisor-banners, including the new Chinese flag, which features a solid red background with five yellow stars in the corner. The flag is slated to become the nation's second-in-command. The council voted the poster the sole leader of China's new Communist government, granting smaller pictures regional authority over much of the newly unified country. Pocket-sized paper books are slated to be handed to all Chinese citizens to further solidify the poster's control.

A New Era

The giant picture's total control over China marks a distinct departure from traditional Chinese governance. This new era of political power in the hands of poster imagery was summed up by Yang Shan-kun, a political observer: "This is one of the first times in Chinese history that we have been able to see one of our leaders. In the past, our great emperors were hidden from view in the Forbidden City, but in this new Communist era of humble egalitarianism, the leader has revealed himself to us. And his enormous size and unwavering expression prove to us his greatness."

"How great our poster-leaders of antiquity must have been," Yang continued. "While they were hidden from public view, we can theorise now that they, too, were just as enormous, attractive, fatherly looking, and fixed in their proud, determined gazes."

Sources close to the new government indicate that the poster of Mao may be planning a summit with a marble statute of Josef Stalin by year's end. Some U.S. observers have speculated that a meeting between the Mao poster and newsreel footage of President Truman could happen as soon as the middle of next year.

In such a summit meeting, the poster and the footage would face each other in an ornate room while cameras capture their images to make other pictures.

The above is an extract from 'Our Dumb Century', a satirical history in newspaper form, edited by Scott Dikkers, and published by Boxtree, pounds 9.99.

NEXT WEEK: Kennedy at the Berlin Wall

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn