Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 6 years 5 months ago

This is Phase 3, where I will be storing information I gathered. In section one, I have my background information before I came to Xizhou. Now in Xizhou, I have I will do my 3-5's. They are short interviews (3 to 5 minutes) to find another source in the village. Section three is where I will be storing the information I have gotten from my interviews. And in the last section, I will be answering questions that I came up with in Phase 2 after living and connecting in Xizhou. 

Background Information (from Phase 1):

What is a Propaganda? 

Propaganda is a one-sided communication designed to influence people's thinking and actions. A television commercial or poster urging people to vote for political candidate might be a propaganda, depending on its method of persuasion[1]

Propaganda |ˌpräpəˈgandə|


1 chiefly derogatory information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view[2]

During the 1950's, a civil war was begun in North and South Korea, but the conflict soon became international when the United Nation's joined to support South Korea and People's Republic of China (PRC) supported North Korea. The war divided Korea on 38th parallel and brought the Cold War to Asia. During World War II, The United States, Great Britain, and the Republic of China had met in Cairo in 1943, where they agreed that Japan would be removed of all its colonies, including Korea. As the war was coming to an end in August 1945, two colonels suggested that the Soviet Union accept the surrender of Japanese troops in the 38th parallel. But the war actually begun when the DPRK crossed the line and attacked ROK on 1950, June 25th. When the United States heard the attack, he called a meeting, which the Soviet Union was boycotting over the issue of China's representation. With the Soviet Union preoccupied, the Security Council was able to pass resolution demanding the Northern armies extract from the South. The Truman Administration is concerned that the recent communist success in Korea would encourage PRC to take action. After the communist triumphed on the China mainland, the Nationalist Government had withdraw to Taiwan. President Truman had said in the early 1950 that he would not protect the Nationalist from Communist attacks, but after the outbreak in Korea, he moved to U.S Seventh Fleet to Taiwan to prevent military conflict in that region. The PRC considered this action as a disturbance in China's internal affairs[6].

During the 1927 a civil started between the Nationalist and the Communist Party, but took a break during World War II. The two opposing sides were the Nationalist led by Chiang Kai-Shek, and the Communist Party led by Mao ZeDong. Both of these parties often had on and off conflicts. In the Japanese invasion, the Nationalist party had to reconsider working with the Communist Party. As the Second United Front, KMT (Kuomingtang) focused more on containing the Communist rather than the invasion. But the CCP worked towards the influence of the rural[4,7]. This is why most of the propaganda found in rural China centers on Communist uprising. From 1947 to 1949, the CCP seemed to have a better chance winning against the KMT, because they had arms and military from the Japanese goods. After a series of military success, Mao decided to establish the PRC on October 1st, 1949. The Nationalist fled to Taiwan, and in 1972, the delegation of People's Republic of China moved into the United Nations, replacing the delegation of Republic of China[4,7,8].

Propaganda was heavily used during the Cultural Revolution. The use of propaganda by the Communist Party of China during the revolution was to persuade the public and other opinions, and also for them to approve of its policies. Propaganda can be found in the earliest periods of Chinese history, but the most effective use of propaganda was during the 20th century due to the mass media, and an undemocratic government. China under the influence of Mao Zedong is known for its continuous use of campaigns to legalize policies of leaders[3].

In August of 1966, Mao Zedong launched what is now known as the Cultural Revolution, he launched to make sure he had authority over the Chinese government. Mao believed that the current leaders were taking the party and China into a wrong direction. Focusing on revisionism rather than ideological purity that he hoped for. His position in the government has also weakened after his failure of The Great Leap Forward[5]. So he called on the youth by announcing that they need to put the current leaders put on track to revolutionizing China. The revolution increased rapidly as more and more students got involved. They formed a group called the Red Guards and carried out assignments they thought would benefit the revolution, such as attacking and harassing the elders. A personality cult quickly formed around Mao, all claiming to have the true interpretation of Maoist thoughts. Lin Biao also seized this opportunity and distributed Mao's famous 'Little Red Book' to the populace and promote its reading[4,5].

The Cultural Revolution came to an end when Mao suffered from a stroke and Zhou learned that he had cancer and threw their support to Deng Xiaoping, a development opposed by Jiang and her allies. The Chinese politics moved between the two sides for the next several years. Then the radicals convinced Mao to remove Deng in 1971, a few months after Zhou's death. But Deng regained control in 1977, and maintained control over the Chinese government for the next 20 years. Mao's attack on the party and system produced the opposite of what he wanted, steering the Chinese to lose faith in their government[5].

Information From 3-to-5's:

From my three to fives, I have gathered contacts as well as some information from my contacts. 

My first three to give was with Ms. Mai. She said that she doesn't know much about these propaganda messages but they have been traveling back and forth for three years now, and when they walk in small alley they still find new or different pieces. They are some old one at LaoFanShi, but they are also new ones which the government put up. The new ones usually depicting something about the  "China Dream". The new ones are pretty new, the last one she saw was about a year old. 

Then I had a interview with Mr. Tafel. One of the propaganda messages that were about tallying food production, and it is right at the cheese factory. One of the important things project-wise is to find the propaganda, find people around it, and interact with. Have a lot of good questions ready, like can you tell me what that says? Can you tell me what it means? Do they think about it? There are also some huge characters that are on the walls that you can see from the Linden Centre terrace. The new campaign for the government is the new "China Dream" and you could see them on the walls.  The earliest propaganda that was put up was in the 1950's and there is a wide range. The hay day of big messages were written in the late 1950's, that was when they redistributed the land, and gathered the farms. There are also messages from the early 80's, that was when the Reform and Opening was happening and the plan birth police. It is all written on the walls. 

The next day, I had a talk with Yeling. She did not know much about the topic or propaganda messages. You can not see a lot of the messages now, they are mostly covered in cheap plaster or erased. It mostly depicted something about Chairman Mao or the Communist Party, and what they achieved. The new campaign only appear in some villages, they are mostly about the environment. Unlike the old messages, which are mostly about Chairman Mao. 

I also talked to Ms. Linden and Mr Linden. She said that propaganda was not her strong point, and does not know a lot about propaganda messages. Mr. Linden says that there are not much messages left and the ones that we see are five to ten years ago. You do not see the old ones. There are graffiti's that talk about fire prevention, AIDS, and drugs. He does not know who is responsible for putting them up or painting them.

Information From Local Contacts:

9/19/2014 Mr. Yang:

Mr. Yang is an antique dealer in SiFangJie. Some artifacts include cups and bowls and plaques with Chairman Mao quotes on them. He showed me a plaque with Chairman Mao quotes and he said that it was basically what the propaganda on the walls were about. Some messages were written on the walls, and some were written on plaques like the one he showed me. This was one way to spread the messages and to show the good and bad during a period of time. He kept some of the artifacts that date back from 1960's to 1965. He said that the propaganda messages on the walls were what Chairman Mao said and turned into propaganda messages. Those messages usually said something like "Chairman Mao forever". And he showed us some pictures of Chairman Mao with quotes underneath the picture. The propaganda messages were mostly written during the Cultural Revolution, and there was not many other forms of propaganda. Most of them are written on banners and hung in public places like hospitals. There were vandalism to the messages after the Cultural Revolution, but some were not smeared with plaster. Some of them disappeared because they renovated, and the oldest one was written by the Red Guards[14]

9/23/2014 Mr. Duan: 

Mr. Duan is a retired army solider as well as a former government official. We went around last night and looked around for propaganda messages and told me what they meant. There was one about American Imperialism and how China and Russia helped North Korea, while US helped South Korea, and the war went on for four years. The propaganda was also about getting rid of people who used to work for Chiang-Kai-Shek after Liberation. We also saw one about Chairman Mao. How he interpreted the propaganda was that Chairman Mao helped create today and how he helped the people by distributing land and property to the farmers. While walking around the village, we saw newer ones that were about fire prevention, government policies, and protecting the old villages. He also said that now you can not see much propaganda messages as they walls are repainted and renovated. We walked to his village, and inside there we saw some new propaganda one the wall. One was about the eight honors you should do and eight shames that are bad. Mr. Duan also said before, these propaganda messages were for the good of the country and now it is for the good of the village. He told me that in the case that I wanted to find more propaganda that was less faded and is still very visible, that I should go to less developed areas[15].

9/23/2014 Mr. Yin:

Mr. Yin is a guesthouse owner and across his house, there is a wall with a propaganda message. The red ink is barely visibly, but if you could  So I asked him a few questions about the degraded message but he said that he does not remember those messages as he was young and forgot[16]

9/24/2014 Mr. Zhao:

Mr. Zhao is a security guard here at YangZhuoRan. Last time, Mr. Tafel and I went on a tour to look for propaganda messages and found one that was covered entirely plaster and could only make out one sixth of it. Today, he told me he remembered it now. The message said ”加強農業生產“, which means to improve the nations agricultural output or produce. He said that the messages on the walls were from the Great Leap Forward, and also some from Liberation. Some messages said "The Communist Party Forever" or "Chairman Mao Forever" or something along those lines, it varies. The reason why they wrote these messages was that they wanted to spread the word. Other forms of propaganda messages were match boxes and on newspapers. On those small boxes, there were quotes from Chairman Mao himself. Now that we have television, messages appear on TV, but mostly on newspapers. They wrote those messages on the walls because it was easier for the public to see, and people would have a better memory of it. He also told me that those messages were written by someone like a government official. When it is time, they change the old messages and put up newer ones. Some propaganda messages were covered but some were not. The ones that were not were usually messages like "Chairman Mao Forever". People did not dare to cover those and at that time it was considered a sin[17]

9/25/2014 Mr. Yang: 

Mr. Yang is a owner of the Golden Flower and I went to interview him on my ten big questions. He said that there are some messages at a temple called Da Ci Si. There are also some messages at Bao Cheng Fu. He said that the government wanted these messages to be seen, so that was why they wrote them. They said things like "Serve the people", "Keep on going" etc. They were written around 1970, 1971, and 1974, but now they stop putting up these messages. Now, he said, they stop putting up these messages because it was bad and it polluted the environment. Back in the days, propaganda messages were usually written on the walls, but now they stop writing those. Some messages were about things that are never going to happen. The messages written on the walls were put up by government officials. Xizhou was not called Xizhou Town before, it was called Xizhou Commune. At meetings, part of your responsibility was to write big character posters to spread the word. He told me that if you had nice handwriting, the government will tell you to write up those messages and then you get to collect money. Nowadays, they stop putting up propaganda messages, and there are almost none left. Messages that were not removed were probably forgotten, and the weather did not damage it. Each era has a new leader, and the leaders have changed overtime with different thoughts and opinions[18].

9/25/2014 Mr. Zhang:

Mr. Zhang is a security guard at the Linden Centre. He said that some messages were about production and birth plant. At that time, birth plant was a national policy. He does not know which ones are the oldest ones, but he said that outside the Linden Centre there are two message. Mr. Zhang took us out to see it and it said "全心全意為人民服務" which means to whole heartedly help or serve the people. There was another message and it said something about Chairman Mao, it was hard to make out since it has faded quite a bit. I also with Cecilyn and she told me that the Linden Centre used to be a barrack. People do not purposely destroy these messages, sometimes they have to renovate their walls so the messages just disappear with it. 

9/30/2014 Restoration Process:

Today during my Inquiry time, I started restoring part of a message that was down the construction road instead of interview local contacts. I learned to play around with the techniques a little and see which ones work the best. I borrowed a pocket knife from Mr. Tafel, and that was the easy tool to use. I tried using an eraser, but nothing came off except for some dust sticking to my eraser. Next, I tried using a pen and it kind of worked. Mr. Tafel also suggested using water and spraying some on and seeing what would happen. The water made some parts easier, like the parts where the plaster is not thick but sometimes it did not help, and I chipped off some of the dirt and plaster instead of the plaster. I also learned to use the pocket knife with both hands and let the weight of the blade chip off the plaster, instead of forcing, which would damage the message. After I chipped off some of the messages, there was a layer of dust covering it and Mr. Tafel used a bit of his saliva to rub it off. In a way, it did work, but it also damaged the color. Mr. Tafel suggested next time that I bring a bottle of water with a bit of soap to see if it works better. 

10/1/2013 Restoration Process:

During my Inquiry time, I worked on restoring the message I was restoring yesterday. I got a bit more done when Mr. Yang, a retired school teacher, stopped by and asked what we were doing. We explained to him, and he told us the message. He also said that the message was not complete and that the message continued on the other wall. I asked him if those messages were written when was a kid, and said yes but he is trying to recall. He also said that after a day or two, I could go to the other wall and uncover the message there since my message was already uncovered. The owner of that wall got quite mad at us so we could not continue restoring. After we cleaned up a bit, he said that we could edit it and put the red ink where is goes, and see the before and after effect of editing. 

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1): 

After arriving here in Xizhou, I realized that my ten questions did not have anything to do with what I wanted to do, which is restoring one part of a message or a whole message. On Tuesday, I started on restoring bits and pieces of the messages. 


1. Online: World Book Online,

2. Dictionary

3. Online: Wikipedia,'s_Republic_of_Chin...

4. Online: Katherine Y (Alumni-F),

5. Online: History,

6. Online: U.S Department of State-Office of Historian, 

7. Online: Nationalist and Communist Chinese Propaganda Leaflets,

8. Online: U.S Department of State-Office of Historian,

9. Mai, Hai Sam. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 16th, 2014

10. Tafel, Craig. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 16th, 2014

11. Ye, Ling. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 17th, 2014

12. Linden, Jeanee. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 17th, 2014

13. Linden, Brian. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 17th, 2014 

14. Yang, Jing Jiang. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 19th, 2014

15. Duan, Guo Quan . Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 23rd, 2014

16. Yin, Lin Ze. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 23rd, 2014

17. Zhao, Li Ming. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 24th, 2014

18. Yang, Jie. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 25th, 2014

19. Zhang, Tian He. Personal Interview conducted by Annie C., Sept 25th, 2014

In Phase 4 I will be merging my ideas. I know I am ready to move to Phase 4 because I got my hooks and a hanger, and I have enough information from my sources to answer my three hooks. f

Hi, my name is Annie. I'm 13 and this is my 8th year in Shanghai. I'm from Taiwan and lived here ever since I was 5. I have a little sister and a member of a family of four. Microcampus was a wonderful experience and I'm glad I embraced it.