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Jiang Qing dominated the Chinese arts. In particular she attempted to reform the Beijing Opera. She developed a new form of art called "model works" (yangbanxi) that depicted the world in simple, binary terms: all the good guys were farmers, workers and revolutionary soldiers who sang and danced around on the stage. All the bad guys were landlords and anti-revolutionaries who wore dark make-up and moped around on the outskirts of the stage. The fact that Mao is beaming down on her, as well as that Mao's Red book is in her hands, is no coincidence: her power was largely vested in her relationship to the Chairman.


Stefan R. Landsberger