China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel explores the transnational network of propaganda and intelligence in Chinese and inter-Asian circuits to reassess the impact of cultural Cold War on Sinophone media culture. It examines how the state and agents deployed propagandistic strategies to mobilize cultural symbols and narratives and negotiate Chinese identities across the ideological divides of Asian communities. It reconsiders intelligence propagation as the dynamic tactics of storytelling, image-building, interactive listening and performing to appeal to diasporic Chinese populations by exploiting mass culture in rapidly commercialized and modernizing societies. The panel follows the migration of people, technologies, and cultural production from rural China to urban Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Southeast Asia. It highlights the contestations of overseas Chinese sympathizers, pro-Communist and anti-Communist campaigners in the Sinosphere maneuvered by British, American, Soviet, and Chinese powers.
Kenny Ng focuses on Chang Kuo-sin and his American-supported film enterprise in Hong Kong as he built up inter-Asian exhibition networks to counteract Communist influences on overseas Chinese audiences. On the opposite front, Bixiao He traces early 1930s–40s Communist detours from urban Shanghai, rural Soviet-based Jiangxi, to colonial Hong Kong to remap the expanding transnational propaganda drive. Sabrina Tao explicates the commercially successful distribution of PRC-made gramophone records in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia by appeasing overseas Chinese listeners and exploiting the affect of their Chinese heritage. Lim Wah Guan discusses the unintended consequences of propaganda drama in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which ultimately nurtured strong local identity formation in these diasporic Chinese societies.