23 February 2006

China Altering Perceptions of KMT?

There is an interesting comment over at Bingfeng Teahouse about changes in the pop media portrayal of the KMT in China. Rather than treating Taiwan's Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) like a traitor, opponent or other problem, the shows portray the KMT as a co-fighter of the Japanese with the Chinese Communists.

This sort of subtle manipulation of popular sentiments was seen in South Korea, with the 1999 release of The Spy, and moving through other movies like Swiri and JSA; all of which altered impressions of North Koreans, from being evil to being figures deserving at least of sympathy.

For Beijing, this is part of a broader campaign to undermine Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and to portray a pan-national sense of "Chineseness," that draws on all ethnic Chinese (Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia...) to build up a greater China rather than having arguments within the Chinese community.

Instead, Beijing uses Japan as its foil, something Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi seems ever willing to assist with through his Yasukuni visits.

This is designed to keep Taiwan from going too far down the independence road and encourages economic and technological cooperation with ethnic Chinese throughout East Asia and the world. And contributing to this lofty goal are the subtle changes in public perception due to popular television.

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