Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Chinese State Broadcaster Showing Anti-US War Movies Amid Trade Conflict

As the trade war between China and the U.S. heats up, Beijing has started spreading propaganda against the United States. State broadcaster CCTV has removed all Hollywood movies from its schedule and is instead showcasing anti-American war movies.

Movie propaganda

One of the movies being repeatedly shown by CCTV-6 is Battle of Shangganling Mountain. Produced in 1956, the film shows China’s version of the events that led to the establishment of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) that separates North Korea from South Korea. The movie is depicted as a great Chinese victory over “evil” American forces.

“The battle of Shangganling has become a symbol of Chinese selfless patriotic sacrifice and heroism as well as propaganda about defeating U.S. imperialism. In Beijing’s account, the battle marked a watershed for the entire war and forced then-U.S. president Harry Truman to concede and agree on a ceasefire deal signed in Panmunjom in 1953,” according to Asia Times.

The Korean War is the only time when Chinese and American military forces came head to head. General Mao had dispatched thousands of soldiers to aid North Korea as he was afraid that communist China might fall if the U.S. were successful in subduing the North Koreans. The success in keeping North Korea a communist state is seen by Beijing as a symbol of Chinese power and is often used to build up hyper-nationalism among the public.

(Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)
‘Battle of Shangganling Mountain’ shows China’s version of the events that led to the establishment of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) that separates North Korea from South Korea. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

“Shangganling and other old films about Korean War are rerun in China’s TV stations. Chinese troops’ win in the 1952 Battle of Shangganling boosted China’s position in negotiations with the U.S. Enlightenment from this film to Chinese: there’s no equal negotiation without fighting,” Hu Xijin, editor of the state-owned tabloid Global Times, said in a tweet.

Two more anti-American war movies are being broadcast by CCTV. Surprise Attack depicts a military mission in which the Chinese army blew up a bridge to cut off supplies to the American army. Heroic Sons and Daughters follows the story of a member of the Chinese army who discovers his daughter on a Korean battlefield. Several citizens have supported the broadcasts, saying that they will help build patriotism among youngsters. Critics point out that such programming will only end up harming Chinese society as people end up hating other nations for trivial reasons.

Anti-US songs

An anti-American song is fast becoming a huge hit in China as people seem to be lapping up its virulent hatred of anything American. The song, titled Trade War, composed by Zhao Liangtian, has gone viral on WeChat.

“Trade war! Trade war! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! A trade war is happening over the Pacific Ocean!” the lyrics start (CBS News). Zhao got inspiration for the song from a Chinese film named Tunnel War released in 1965. The movie has an anti-Japanese song that acted as the foundation on which Zhao built the tune for Trade War.

U.S.-China trade talks have been in limbo for the past few weeks. The uncertainty surrounding the issue is spooking global markets. China seems to have decided that the talks might last for a long time, which may be the reason why the state is busy pushing the idea of an evil America to the public through movies. 

(Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)
The uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade talks is spooking global markets. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)

President Trump and Xi Jinping might meet at the G-20 summit to be held in June. Though the last meeting in Argentina only ended up with a 90-day ceasefire, many hope that the June meeting might produce good news.

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Max Lu
Max Lu is an author who specializes in Asian geopolitics.

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