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Representing the victorious past: Chinese revolutionary TV drama between propaganda and marketization

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journal contribution
posted on 26.05.2021, 13:09 by Yingzi Wang, Thoralf KleinThoralf Klein
This paper examines the changes and continuities in TV representations of Chinese Communist Party’s revolutionary history and interprets them within the broader context of China’s political, economic and cultural transformations since the 1990s. Drawing on a comparative analysis of three state-sponsored TV dramas produced between the late 1990s and mid-2010s, it traces how the state-sanctioned revolutionary narratives have changed over time in response to the Party’s propaganda imperatives on the one hand, and to the market-oriented production environment on the other. The paper argues that while TV productions in the new century have made increasing concessions to audience taste by adopting visually stimulating depictions and introducing fictional characters as points of identification for the audience, the revolutionary narratives were still aligned with the Party’s propaganda agenda at different times. This shows the ongoing competition between ideological and commercial interests in Chinese TV production during the era of market reforms.



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

Media, Culture and Society


SAGE Publications


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© The Authors

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Dr Thoralf Klein. Deposit date: 26 May 2021