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The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"Politics, Aesthetics, and Mass Culture$
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Rosemary Roberts and Li Li

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390892

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390892.001.0001

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The Red Sister-in-Law Remakes

The Red Sister-in-Law Remakes

Redefining the “Fish-and-Water” Relationship for the Era of Reform and Opening

(p.156) 9 The Red Sister-in-Law Remakes1
The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"

Qian Gong

Hong Kong University Press

Ode to Yimeng (Yingmeng Song), a major ballet production created in May 1974, was based on the short story “Red Sister-in-Law” (Hongsao). It is one of the “red classics” that deals with a revolutionary “base area,” and in essence, is about how the Communist Party won the support of the subaltern, the backbone of Chinese society at a tipping point in modern Chinese history, when CCP triumphed over the Nationalist army. The story of heroine, Sister-in-Law Ying, who saved a seriously wounded Communist soldier with her breast milk and nurtured him back to life, was once metaphoric and metonymic of the symbiotic relationships between army and the people. This chapter argues that the post-Mao remake in the format of a television drama has significantly re-defined the essence of the “fish-and-water” relationship in the spirit of traditional Chinese values and, in particular, Confucian values.

Keywords:   “red classics”, Communist revolution, mass-Party relationship, Confucianism, TV drama

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