Nation ethnicity and truth in modern China event image

This is part of the Difference Festival 2020 which is co-organised with the Contemporary China Centre, University of Westminster.

About the event

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has maintained strict control over the production of information across the media and educational materials across the country. What kinds of ‘truth’ has this produced, and how have these ‘truths’ allowed the CCP to retain its legitimacy as China’s sole ruling organisation? Our talk explores truth and representation in Chinese state propaganda. Focusing on how ethnic minorities have been represented in visual propaganda materials from the Mao era to the present, we examine how certain ‘truths’ about ethnicity in China have been produced and the role these ‘truths’ have played in consolidating notions of a unified Chinese nation.

We begin with a brief history of ethnic relations in China, describing how the question of ethnicity has long been a point of particular sensitivity and insecurity for the Chinese state. We then discuss some examples of visual representations of ethnicity in China, including a selection of Mao-era Chinese propaganda posters from the University of Westminster’s Archive’s China Visual Arts Project’s collection.

We hope that this event will promote critical reflection on the role of language and imagery in the production of ideas about ethnicity and nation in modern China, and about ‘truth’ more broadly.

The event will be followed by a drinks reception.


University of Westminster, Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW