Denisa Hilbertowa - Taiwan in Czechoslovak Communist
Propaganda Caricatures (1948-1989)
“Chiang Kai-shek, the so-called president of the so-called Republic of China died…” By these words the biggest Czechoslovakian communist newspaper Rudé právo referred about the death of Chiang Kai-shek in April 1975.
The aim of this lecture is to present a media discourse of the official communist propaganda in Czechoslovak newspapers on Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek and Kuomintang.
After the Second World War, when Kuomintang had began to lose the Chinese Civil War; Chiang Kai-shek and the fate of Taiwan (resp. Republic of China) became a popular part of communist propaganda, caricatures and even common jokes.
This lecture will be mainly based on the most widespread Czechoslovakian newspaper Rudé právo, the official newspaper of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and cartoon journals, Dikobraz and Roháč, that belonged among the most popular printed media.
The emphasis will be laid to the last years of the 1940s before the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan and the 1950s, when P.R.C. was establishing its international contacts and Czechoslovakia public opinion was strongly supportive towards P.R.C. and their common imperialistic enemy. Together with Korean War, R.O.C. belonged among the prevalent caricature topics of international affairs in Czechoslovakia. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a decline in international cooperation among communist countries and therefore decrease in the amount of propaganda regarding Taiwan, the lecture will focus on crucial affairs, such as the recognition of the PRC in the UN, U.S. support or the death of Chiang Kai-shek.
Relation to annual topic:
The annual topic of Vienna lectures for the academic year 2015/2016 is “Perceiving Taiwan: Literature, Media and Film.
My proposed lecture will introduce the Czechoslovak communist media presentation of Kuomintang, ROC and Chiang Kai-shek. I will focus on stereotypes within the cartoon imagines, what information were presented to the Czechoslovakian public and the message which communist party sent to the readers through those pictures. Czechoslovak communist propaganda towards Taiwan played an important role in forming the image of this distant island among Czechoslovak citizens. Since there has been a little contact between these two countries in pre-war period, communist propaganda often provided the first glimpses of ‘unknown and exotic’ land to Czechoslovak public. Statements of this intensive propaganda campaign rooted deeply and created ‘general knowledge’ of Taiwan among Czechoslovak population. It is necessary to mention that as a result many misinformation are still alive to this day.
I believe that this lecture might open a discussion about the past and contemporary image of Taiwan in the middle European nation that once perceived R.O.C. as a bitter enemy. It will provide a piece of knowledge towards the world’s image of Taiwan.
Dikobraz, No. 14, April 5,1953, cover page – “Chiang Kai-shek fabulous prospects”