China's Smiling Face to the World: Beijing's English-Language Magazines in the First Decade of the People's Republic

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2005-12-13

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In the 1950s, the People's Republic of China produced several English-language magazines to inform the outside world of the remarkable transformation of newly reunified China into a modern and communist state: People's China, begun in January 1950; China Reconstructs, starting in January 1952; and in March 1958, Peking Review replaced People's China. The magazines were produced by small staffs of Western-educated Chinese and a few experienced foreign journalists. The first two magazines in particular were designed to show the happy, smiling face of a new and better China to an audience of foreign sympathizers, journalists, academics and officials who had little other information about the country after most Western journalists and diplomats had been expelled. This thesis describes how the magazines were organized, discusses key staff members, and analyzes the significance of their coverage of social and cultural issues in the crucial early years of the People's Republic.

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