China film lam­basted online for dis­tort­ing WWII history

The China Post - - LOCAL -

So­cial media users blasted a new Chi­nese film Mon­day for de­pict­ing a sum­mit of world lead­ers dur­ing World War II which em­bel­lished history by por­tray­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Mao Ze­dong as vi­tal to a con­fer­ence he never at­tended.

The Cairo Dec­la­ra­tion — an up­com­ing war film pro­duced by a com­pany af­fil­i­ated with China’s mil­i­tary — is part of a host of gov­ern­ment­di­rected events to com­mem­o­rate the 70th an­niver­sary of Ja­pan’s sur­ren­der.

The U.S., the UK, Soviet Union and China all met in Cairo in Novem­ber 1943 to map out a post-war path for Asia, dur­ing which they de­cided that ter­ri­to­ries ceded to Ja­pan be­fore the war should be re­turned to China.

But the film’s trailer and poster have faced a back­lash on so­cial media and state media, with in­ter­net users point­ing out Mao played no ma­jor role at the con­fer­ence.

China — then known as the Re­pub­lic of China — was in­stead rep­re­sented by Na­tion­al­ist leader Chi­ang Kai-shek, who went on to lose China’s civil war to Mao’s Com­mu­nist forces.

“I’m sad that my con­tri­bu­tions at the Cairo Con­fer­ence haven’t been recog­nised in the film,” joked one user on Mon­day. Oth­ers were more jaded. “Let Mao be a part of the con­fer­ence, it’s not like the rest of our history is real any­way,” wrote another user.

China is plan­ning to hold a largescale mil­i­tary pa­rade in Bei­jing next month to com­mem­o­rate what it calls the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s War of Re­sis­tance Against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion and the World Anti-Fas­cist War.

A trailer for the film posted on YouTube opens with Mao mak­ing an im­pas­sioned speech say­ing, “The task for Com­mu­nists around the world is to op­pose Fas­cism through strug­gle”.

The poster advertising the movie fea­tures the ac­tor play­ing Mao look­ing out into the dis­tance, but a web­site has been set up al­low­ing In­ter­net users to mock­ingly edit them­selves or oth­ers in his place.

Edited ver­sions cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial media var­i­ously had in Mao’s place Gol­lum, the fic­tional char­ac­ter from The Lord of the Rings, as well as a Min­ion, the yel­low work­ers from the De­spi­ca­ble Me film fran­chise.

One even has cur­rent main­land Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, who was born in 1953, in Mao’s place.

“By fea­tur­ing Mao, who was not present at the meet­ing, but ex­clud­ing Chi­ang, the poster shows no re­spect for history nor to Mao,” cul­ture critic Sima Ping­bang was quoted as say­ing by the Global Times tabloid.

An ed­i­to­rial in the Chi­ne­se­lan­guage edi­tion on Mon­day of the news­pa­per, which has close ties to the Com­mu­nist Party, called the use of Mao to pro­mote the film “in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

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