From the Editor

Propaganda in a film
     Starting from 1 October, the audiences in China’s cinemas nationwide will see a 90-second film clip featuring the national anthem before they see a China-produced film. Audiences in Hong Kong someday may also be affected by this new policy, although it has yet to be implemented here.
     The producer of the film clip said that it would help foster patriotic feelings towards, and understanding of, the country among youngsters, including those in Hong Kong.
     However, this has aroused certain concerns among managers of local cinemas. The director of the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s film and video department said, when the plan was first announced, that he would fight to cut the clip. He was quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying that “Hong Kong people couldn’t care less about this patriotic propaganda.”
     Patriotism could be defined as love for the state. Since under the Communist concept the government represents the state, patriotism also implies loyalty to the government. So if one does not endorse the government’s policy, he or she risks being categorised as unpatriotic.
     It might be suggested that patriotism does not necessarily work that way. Love for a country might be a better definition. This love could originate from a recognition of history and culture, and the pride and faith one has in it. This very well could have nothing to do with politics and the government in power at any given time.
     Under this latter definition, the film clip is irrelevant.
     China, whose history spans some 5,000 years, has something for everyone to be proud of. But now, with the complaints about corruption and inefficiency in the government, together with reports of violations of human rights, people need something more than a film to boost confidence.
     Therefore, a better way to promote patriotism would be to increase their faith in the government and the future of the country. This cannot be done merely by the production and compulsory viewing of a 90-second film clip.
     Being part of a metropolis like Hong Kong, people here embrace different beliefs. Patriotism thus takes different forms. To many, compulsory viewing of the film clip may only mean arriving at the cinema a bit late.
     Clearly, when the late Premier Deng Xiaoping said horse racing and dancing would remain the same in Hong Kong, he failed to mention that going to the movies would remain the same, too.

                                                                    Sophia Yow

 Letters to the Editor

November 1997

[Editorial] [Letters] [Answer] [News] [Social] [Photo] [Culture] [Education] [Channels] [Science] [Celebrity]

Comments   Editor-in-Chief   Electronic Editor