Funktioniert der kommunismus doch?

Rot-Chinas rasanter aufsteig
Der Spiegel - January 2007

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1. Content
i. Symbols of significance
The Pearl Tower of Shanghai, the wall poster often seen before and during1970s as well as more symbols conceived in this wall poster: labors, farmers, and people from the 56 ethnic groups of China, the banner with Chinese characters saying “Long live The Communist Party of China”, and the national emblem in the background of flying flags.

ii. Area(s) in society that the symbols belong to
The Pearl Tower of Shanghai is usually considered as one symbol of modernization of China. It belongs to the area of modernization.
While the wall poster is usually seen in tens of thousands of families as a propaganda tool, which also belongs to the area of Politics.
The figure of 56 people from 56 ethnic groups walking together to support the leadership of China, also belongs to the area of politics.
The banner saying “Long Live the Communist Party of China” is also related to the area of propaganda, which also belongs to the area of politics.
The national emblem belongs to the area of politics, since it is used to represent China.

iii. Quantitative assessment
1 Pearl Tower, 1 wall poster with 1 national emblem, 2 banners and 56 people from different ethnic groups.

2. Communication
i. Image/symbol(s) used to symbolize China
The Pearl Tower, the wall poster as well as the national emblem, the banners and 56 people from different circles and ethnic groups are used to symbolize China,

ii. Key connotations and denotations
The magazine contrasts the photo of Pearl Tower of Shanghai with the wall poster of 1970s to tell that significant changes have taken place in China.

iii. Interpretations of the key symbols, with focus on Chinese culture
There are two things of significance in this cover, one is the photo of the Pearl Tower in Shanghai, and the other is the wall poster.
To be more detailed, the wall poster is often see before and during1970s, but it is rarely seen in 1980s and 1990s, not to mention in 21st century. In this wall poster, there are more symbols of significance, including the labors, farmers, and people from the 56 ethnic groups of China who firmly support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
There is also a banner saying “Long Live the Communist Party of China” in the wall poster. And in the middle of the group of people, there is the national emblem in the background of flying flags. This kind of wall posters are often used as a propaganda poster, and they are characterized as bright color (especially red color),the existence of three kind of important persons (Labor,farmer and PLA )and 56 representative from 56 ethnic groups, all of which combined to convey that the Communist Party is highly and generally supported as the leader of People’s Republic of China.
The photo of the Pearl Tower show great progress have made since the Reform and Opening Up. And the other is the wall poster of Chairman Mao era. The magazine contrasts the photo of Pearl Tower of Shanghai with the wall poster of 1970s to tell that significant changes have taken place in China. Since the photo of Pearl Tower is put in the upper place and occupies more space of the cover, while the wall poster is placed in the Lower place and occupies less space, the magazine tries to convey that the former is dominant and it is the former the magazine tries to highlight.

iv. Power relations in the image
There is no apparent power relation in this image.

v. Kind of communication
Unilateral.

vi . Nature of relation between “China” and "others"
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3. Additional comments
i. Images/colors, etc
The two pictures, one is photo, the other is a painting, makes a sharp contrast. The progress of China is highlighted. What is slightly confusing from a Chinese perspective is why this magazine chooses this wall poster in the 21st centuries, even most Chinese have never seen it for more than 30 years.

ii. Group of images
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iii. Comment about supporting image
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iv. Comments about heading
The heading is “Funktioniert der kommunismus doch? Rot-Chinas rasanter aufsteig”, meaning “Does communism work: The red China's rapid rise". The heading use a term that Chinese are usually not comfortable with —“Red China”. And it is difficult from a Chinese perspective to make out why the western media keep a liking of using this term to describe China for decades.

4. Rating of cover image
Neutral to dialogue,
though it is confusing that this magazine chooses such an old wall poster in the 21st centuries, even most Chinese have never seen it for more than 30 years, the progress of China is highlighted here in this cover. So it is neutral.

5. Other comments

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Rating categories:
1. Hostile: An image that portrays China as impossible to have a dialogue with.
2. Not open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where it is possible, but not likely, to have a dialogue.
3. Neutral: An image that does not say anything about the possibility for dialogue
4. Open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where there is an openness to dialogue.
5. Very open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where there is an active interest in a dialogue.