The PRC's incorporation of 2-28 into the CCP historical narrative drew lots of attention this week, including in my latest piece for Taiwan News. Because of the western media habit of lengthy quoting of CCP agents without comment or fact check, I wonder if...
Sooner or later it will begin to find its way into articles, interviews, and similar, sometimes given the same weight as robust scholarly history from "the other side." Readers are invited to imagine what PRC state actors like Shen, often quoted at length in the western media, will be permitted to say because of this new narrative.With the absurd claims to the Senkakus, PRC clout has created a situation where western media avoid comment on the PRC claim, and repeat and repeat and repeat it, legitimizing it. Any marketer can tell you the key to getting ideas accepted is to repeat them. They don't have to have any particular content or to be truthful, they just have to be repeated. That is a key to effective propaganda.
Taiwan Sentinel commented here. Brian Hioe has a great review of the PRC's assimilationist historical narratives at New Bloom. Brian notes:
Commemoration of the 228 Massacre still remains a sore spot for the KMT, who act as China’s proxies in Taiwan and continue to largely deny historical wrongdoing during the 228 Massacre or in the White Terror which followed. As such, Chinese commemoration of the 228 Massacre may perhaps represent China distancing itself from the KMT. Seeing as commemoration of the 228 Massacre was historically pushed for by the DPP, which emerged out of Taiwan’s democracy movement, this may represent the CCP backing away from the KMT and shifting towards attempting to co-opt the DPP, given the generally floundering political fortunes of the KMT in recent times. This remains to be seen....and....
Attempts to create a similar figure to Wencheng have been attempted with the historical figure of the “Fragrant Concubine,” a Uighur concubine of the Qianlong emperor. Similarly, in many contemporary historical depictions of Genghis Khan in China, Genghis Khan is treated as though he were a Chinese and not a Mongolian emperor, not only to absorb the historical fame of Genghis Khan into Chinese history, but to justify Chinese claims over inner Mongolia. There exist similar attempts in many filmic depictions of Chinese ethnic minorities, propaganda efforts that the Chinese government plans to step up with the announcement of plans to produce fifty-five films featuring China’s ethnic minorities in the near future, with one film for each ethnic minority.The observation that the CCP is possibly attempting to distance itself from the KMT is probably not right, though Hioe is quite right to point it out, and the 2-28 commemoration narrative may eventually be used that way. However, scholar Kharis Templeman pointed out that the PRC's incorporation of 2-28 into its historical fantasies is much older than I had realized, meaning that it is probably not targeted at the KMT at present. He dug up these stamps from 1977 (the 2007 commemoration a few years ago was mentioned in the local media).
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