This video is based on the prompt “Hundred Flowers Campaign.” This campaign occurred in China in 1957 when Chairman Mao allowed scholars to openly criticize the Chinese Communism Party (CCP) in published literature, spanning from newspapers to posters, letting “a hundred flowers bloom.” Though Mao found that these scholars shared his grievances with the party, he was upset at just how many people had issues with it. Surprisingly, most of the critique suggested ways to improve upon the established CCP rather than dissolve it. He then banned all “rightist” works, claiming “weeds had sprouted among the fragrant flowers” and using this as a guise to punish most of the intellectuals who wrote the critical articles about the CCP.
For my video, I have the unlocking of the door represent Mao allowing the people to publish critical reviews of the CCP. Then, I have several texts in Chinese (news stories, poetry, the titles of chapters in an art book, etc.), starting off slowly and increasing in speed and density to reflect the snowballing effect that the critical writings experienced. Then, one of the pages of Chinese text is shown burning. This shows Mao’s sudden dislike of the campaign. Three more uninjured texts are shown, littered in between more shots of ones on fire; the unburned texts come to a stop much more quickly than they started off. The final shot is the same door from the very beginning being locked, just as Mao had revoked the right of the people of China to be critical of the government.
Barmé, Geremie R. “For Truly Great Men, Look to This Age Alone: Was Mao Zedong a New Emperor?” A Critical Introduction to Mao, edited by Timothy Cheek, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 2010, pp. 256–257.
Karl, Rebecca E. “Stabilizing Society and the Transition to Socialism, 1949-1957.” Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World: A Concise History, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2010, pp. 95–97.
MacFarquhar, Roderick, et al., editors. “The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao.” The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: From the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward, Harvard University Press, London and Cambridge, MA, 1989, pp. 4, 6.