Wall Posters in China

Originally published in:
News Release (China Information Committee, Chungking, China) nr. 326, 27 January 1939, pp. 2116-2117

The China Information Committee was an organization within the Ministry of Information of the Guomindang. It published government propaganda, both within China and abroad. The CIC employed several Western writers and journalists, and had branch offices a.o. in New York and London.
Inserted into the text, between square brackets [], are modern pinyin transcriptions of names of people and places.

One of the most effective means for spreading China's innumerable war slogans is the wall poster. These posters, moving the masses to great heights of patriotism throughout the country, have proved invaluable to recruiting and to fund-raising campaigns.

They could not have been so widespread in China at war except for the patriotism of the hundreds of Chinese painters. These artists, many of them having been trained abroad, were at first concentrated in big coastal cities. There they had their homes and no few of them also valuable collections of ancient and modern Chinese and foreign paintings. To these cities came the Japanese invaders, who lost no time in laying their hands on any precious products of fine arts they could find.

p. 2116

Thus had a great number of Chinese painters and other artists lost their beloved possessions. They left the cities on the coastal board for places in the interior, their hearts strongly embittered against the enemy. Many of them banded together as war publicity corps and, armed with brushes and paper, they set forth to the rural districts to conduct patriotic activities among the peasants.

Among the numerous war publicity corps organized by Chinese painters is one that has their working sphere in Kwangtung [Guangdong] Province. In this group are three French-returned artists in the persons of Messrs. Lei Han-hun, Li Ping-hung and Yu Li-hsi. Others in the corps have been teachers or graduates of the schools of fine arts in Shanghai or in the lakeside city of Hangchow [Hangzhou] in Chekiang [Zhejiang] Province.

These patriots left their homes or schools with the withdrawing Chinese forces during November, 1937. They have travelled from one city to another along the Yangtze [Yangzi] in their long flight from the war and in all those cities are still displayed wall posters that bear testimony to their patriotism.

At first they had their brushes and paints to portray the brutality of the Japanese militarists and the heroism of the Chinese defenders. They are now working in the rural villages in Kwangtung. All the weapons of their art have been exhausted and there is no place to buy. But nothing could be so difficult as to outwit the true artists. They are using the twigs of trees as brushes and derive paints for their posters from leaves and clay of various colours.

Coarse as their paintings so produced must be, they are all the more striking to behold. They have travelled far and wide throughout rural Kwangtung and have turned out tens of thousands of posters. These have stimulated all the farmers in Kwangtung. Expressing their love for the country, all the able-bodied peasants in that province have organized themselves into Self-Protection Corps, ready to fight the Japanese should the latter dare to set their feet upon their soil.

And all the farmers that have thus risen to arms love members of the Artists War Publicity Corps for their art and patriotism and call them their "comrades".

p. 2117

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