15 Beautiful, Tragic Chinese Propaganda Posters

Crammed with abundant foodstuffs, these posters were meant to celebrate the Communist economy. The posters all come from the period between 1958 and 1961, when roughly 45 million people were starved, beaten or worked to death in China as part of Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward.”

1. “Crossing the Yellow River while sitting in a peanut” (1958)

ID: 289504

2. “Production of grains was like rockets shooting into the sky.” (1958)

I think this really means aliens stole their grain.

ID: 289508

3. “The future of the rural village.” (1958)

“Future” being the key word.

ID: 289517

4. “The melons are sweet, grain and rice are fragrant, everybody tries the flavor.” (1958)

Hmm, “everybody”?

ID: 289563

5. “The hogs of the commune must be raised to be fat and big.” (Year unknown)

ID: 289747

6. “More pigs, more fertilizer, higher grain production.” (1959)

ID: 289575

7. “The commune is like a gigantic dragon, production is visibly awe-inspiring.” (1959)

This is my favorite of the bunch.

ID: 289630

8. “The commune’s canteen is powerful, the dishes are deliciously made. You eat like you wish. Production ambitions are rising.” (1959)

ID: 289665

9. “The vegetables are green, the cucumbers plump, the yield is abundant.” (1959)

ID: 289676

10. “When the dining hall is well-run, the production spirit will increase.” (1959)

ID: 289685

11. “Ride the wind and cleave the waves to realise a Leap Forward in all fields.” (1960)

That is some finely-crafted PR bullshit.

ID: 289690

12. “Develop industrial and agricultural production, realize the simultaneous development of industry and agriculture—People’s communes are good.” (1960)

ID: 289705

13. “Speed up the mechanization of agriculture—People’s communes are good.” (1960)

Nice one.

ID: 289722

14. “The communes are big, the people numerous, the natural resources abundant. It is easy to develop a diversified economy.” (1960)

Well, the people were numerous anyway.

ID: 289732

15. “The people’s commune is good, happiness will last for ten thousand years.” (1960)


ID: 289741


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