China Pop -Op/056

Jianying Zha, Author New Press $20 (210p) ISBN 978-1-56584-249-6
In the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Chinese television launched Yearning, a 50-part soap opera celebrating values such as self-sacrifice and endurance. Chinese-American freelance journalist Zha views Yearning as the Communist Party's attempt to reunite the masses with the government. Her intriguing look at Chinese pop culture--movies, tabloid newspapers, TV, erotic novels, etc.--assesses a fast-growing, depoliticized commercial culture which is fostering a cosmopolitanism that is helping to pull China into the global arena. Zha discusses China's lucrative underground pornography industry, news reporting corrupted by corporate payoffs and graft, avant-garde artists bending to the dictates of the marketplace and nascent feminism in a country where, according to the author, women have the world's highest suicide rate. A scholar at Chicago's Center for Transcultural Studies, Zha, born and raised in Beijing, brings both Eastern and Western perspectives to this hopeful work. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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