Propaganda Masquerading as a Movie Review

June 7, 2010

I found another example of media propaganda in a movie review. In June 1989, the Tiananmen Square incident took place in China and “hundreds” of demonstrators died in what started as peaceful demonstrations “demanding” changes in China.

A few months later, a New York Times review made comparisons between the first emperor and China’s modern government. “The depiction of Qin’s bonfire and of his soldiers pushing his flailing enemies (they weren’t the emperor’s enemies) into a ditch caused the American Museum of Natural History to cancel its planned opening of ”The First Emperor of China” last July, when the news was still full of the Chinese Government’s violent suppression of student protests.… This re-enactment of the faraway Qin’s often despotic and often enlightened rule becomes more believable and complex in view of the parallels with recent events.”

The New York Times made a comparison with an event that took place more than two millennia ago but made no mention of the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan by a US ally where almost thirty thousand noncombatants were killed by Kuomintang troops. There was also no mention of the almost 70,000 U.S. troops in the Philippians, who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Filipino freedom fighters and non-combatants between 1898 and World War II.

Filipinos killed by US troops before World War II

The New York Times does not review every movie or documentary produced so it is questionable why they would review this lackluster 38-minute documentary about China’s first emperor. Was there another motive behind this review—to remind Americans of the Tiananmen Square incident? After all, let’s not forget anything bad that Communist China does while forgetting worse historical sins committed by American troops and its allies.

See What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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“First Emperor of China” Movie Review

June 7, 2010

Released in 1989 and narrated by Christopher Plummer, this version of the First Emperor of China is about half the length of the nine-part series, The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China (link to part 1), about Qin Shi Huangdi on YouTube.

 

This documentary was first seen on an IMAX screen, and it covers a few of the known facts about the first emperor’s life.  There is the attempted coup by a prime minister; the assassin with a poison knife; the conquest of six Chinese nations to unify China (too brief on detail); adopting one written language, which resulting in book burning and burying hundreds of scholars alive who disagreed with him; completing the Great Wall of China, and the creation of the Terra Cotta army that would guard his tomb.

Then there is emperor’s quest to live forever by consuming a form of liquid mercury, which shortened his life by decades—an example of how power corrupts absolutely making a man believe he was as powerful as a god.

This link will take you to the New York Times review, which said it was a painless history lesson full of vibrant period details but lacking human drama.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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