. Energy News .

China film broaches sensitive topic of famine
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 28, 2012

China's latest blockbuster film, to be released nationwide Thursday, focuses on the hypersensitive topic of famine -- but not the mass starvation that Mao Zedong presided over, which remains strictly taboo.

"Back to 1942" tells of a largely forgotten disaster that left three million dead, seven years before Mao's Communists took over and almost two decades before his Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of tens of millions.

It has drawn wide local attention with Chinese stars Zhang Guoli and Chen Daoming and Hollywood figures Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins among director Feng Xiaogang's cast, and a 210 million yuan ($34 million) budget.

The famine struck the central province of Henan, which had been torn by fighting between Chinese and Japanese forces while also suffering a drought, locust attacks and government mismanagement.

The area was still recovering from deliberate breaches in dams along the Yellow River that caused massive flooding four years previously, in a desperate attempt to check the Japanese advance.

The film is presented as "one of the most sombre moments in recent Chinese history".

Yet neither the filmmaker, actors nor the local press have made any mention of the far larger famine of 1958-62 under the Great Leap Forward, Mao's failed economic overhaul.

Its policies led to the deaths of 40 million people, estimates Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng, who investigated the famine for over a decade for his recent book "Tombstone", which has been banned in China.

"The West only knows the 1962 famine, they don't know about the 1942 famine, so it is necessary to depict it, as a history lesson," Feng said in response to an AFP question during a press conference on Sunday.

But when asked about the possibility of making a similar film about the starvation under Mao, the director did not answer.

"You have to respect the constraints that exist, you know, and how difficult it is for filmmakers," said Brody. "It's remarkable that they are able to make a film like this."

It remains unclear whether China's vigilant censors have allowed the release of "Back to 1942" to distract attention from the later famine, or if the move represents a relaxation of the taboo.

"Whatever the merits of the film, it was probably decided to do it to serve as a counter-argument to Yang Jisheng's book," said Philippe Grangereau, co-author of the documentary "The Great Famine".

It was a typical example of Chinese "counter-propaganda", he said.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, China has delayed the release of the latest James Bond movie "Skyfall", prompting the US paper to speculate the move was to boost ticket sales for "Back to 1942" and another Chinese film.

Mao's disastrous Great Leap Forward was intended to transform China from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through rapid industrialisation and the collectivisation of farming.

In attempts to meet steel production quotas, farm implements were melted down for scrap while party-directed agricultural experiments drove down yields on communes.


Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Scientists find clues to more disease resistant watermelons
Ithaca NY (SPX) Nov 27, 2012
Are juicier, sweeter, more disease-resistant watermelons on the way? An international consortium of more than 60 scientists from the United States, China, and Europe has published the genome sequence of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) - information that could dramatically accelerate watermelon breeding toward production of a more nutritious, tastier and more resistant fruit. The researchers ... read more

Satellites used to track global smog level

TerraSAR-X image of the month - the Santorini volcano expands

Apple sacks exec in maps fiasco: report

What lies beneath? New survey technique offers detailed picture of our changing landscape

East Riding Of Yorkshire Council Selects Ctrack For Specialist Vehicle Tracking Solution

Researchers Use GPS Tracking to Monitor Crab Behavior

US Navy, Raytheon receive Pentagon engineering award for GPS-guided precision landing program

Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Environmental Test on GPS III Pathfinder

Brazil says Amazon deforestation at record low

Drained wetlands give off same amount of greenhouse gases as industry

Island row dulls China land grab fears in Japan

Maple syrup, moose, and the local impacts of climate change

Marine algae seen as biofuel resource

Algae Biomass Organization hails new UCSD study showing saltwater algae viable for biofuels

Algae can draw energy from other plants

Engineering plants for biofuels

Renewable energy could power Australia

Funneling the sun's energy

Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology

Continuation of Arenales solar power plant project secured

Britain: Higher energy bills 'reasonable'

Areva commits to Scotland turbine plant

AREVA deploys its industrial plan to produce a 100 percent French wind power technology

Gannets could be affected by offshore energy developments

China mine blast toll rises to 23

China mine blast kills 18: state media

US shale gas drives up coal exports

Coal investment in Queensland unlikely

Chinese insurer hits out at Wen Jiabao report

Four more Tibetans set themselves alight in China

Tibetan self-immolates in northwest China

Record numbers flock to take Chinese government test

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement