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China's Soviet Dream : Propaganda, Culture, and Popular Imagination (Hardcover) (Yan Li)
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This book examines the introduction of Soviet socialist culture in the People’s Republic of China, with a focus on the period of Sino-Soviet friendship in the 1950s. The vast state initiative to transplant Soviet culture into Chinese soil has conventionally been dismissed as a tool of propaganda and political indoctrination. This book reveals, however, that this transnational engagement not only facilitated China’s broader transition to socialist modernity but also generated unintended consequences that outlasted the propaganda. Based on archival findings, newspapers, magazines, media productions, and oral interview, the book delves into changes in Chinese popular imagination and everyday aesthetics contingent upon Soviet influence. It shows that Soviet culture offered Chinese people the language and imagery to conceive of their future, thereby inspiring a popular yearning for the "Soviet dream," a dream about material abundance, self-determination, and the pleasures of leisure and cultural enrichment. This dream, with its fusion of nationalist agendas and private aspirations, fueled the endurance of the Soviet legacy in China long after the Chinese government repudiated the Soviet model at the end of the decade.