This Mass Surveillance and Counter-Espionage Films in 1950s China research seminar is jointly hosted by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and the Contemporary China Centre, with the speaker Xiaoning Lu.

This talk addresses the following questions, through an examination of the counter-espionage film (fante pian) produced in the 1950s:

  • How were spies who had infiltrated the newly built People’s Republic of China (PRC) ferreted out?
  • Is the Orwellian vision of Big Brother an apt metaphor for everyday experiences and social practices of surveillance in socialist China during the heyday of the Cold War?
  • What role did cinema play in actual surveillance culture? How did cinema contribute to the production of vigilant and responsible socialist subjectivity?

Special attention will be paid to cinematic narratives and formal strategies that articulate the Chinese communist party’s vision of mass surveillance.

This event is free and open to all staff and students at the University of Westminster, as well as members of the public. Members of the public should register by emailing James Dyke on [email protected]

About the speaker

Xiaoning Lu is a Lecturer in Modern Chinese Culture and Language at SOAS University of London, where she teaches courses on Chinese cinema and literature. Her writing on Chinese cinema and socialist culture has appeared in books and journals, including Words and Their Stories: Essays on Chinese Revolutionary Discourse, the Journal of Chinese Cinemas and the Journal of Contemporary China. She is currently completing her monograph on Forces of the Spectacle: Chinese Cinema and Socialist Modernity and co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Culture.