Publication

The “False, Big and Empty”Propaganda Columns
And An Inquiry Held into Them
——An Article on He Chong-yue’s
Solo Show of《Family Planning》
Written by Wang Nan-Ming

He Chong-yue’s solo show of《Family Planning》will open in Huayisha Salon on 22nd June and the series of pictures about family planning taken by He Chong-yue is exhibited with a special device made by himself in the exhibition room at the same time. This device is to imitate a kind of amplified medical intra-uterine dilator and it is decorated with roses all around. The dilator is originally used to dilate the uterus in induced abortion, yet here it has been concealed compared to the result of pregnancy through the roses paved on ground. The dilator is installed to open and close alternately in succession, and these actions will be also accompanied with the gentle voices “relaxation and relaxation ---” which are broadcast time and again, giving people the imagination of bitterness which a lying-in woman may suffer from in induced abortion.

The device of intra-uterine dilator made by He Chong-yue can be used as a method to intensify the context of the series of pictures about 《Family Planning》, by means of exhibiting all these materials including dilator, roses, voices and those pictures about the propaganda columns of family planning taken by He Chong-yue in a same exhibition room at the same time. Thus more prominence will be given to what is aimed at through his works, for this kind of intra-uterine dilator has now become a tool in relation to mandatory policy of family planning. Induced abortion here is carried on not only through a kind of individual right but also through state apparatus as an administrative tool. In the exhibiting room of He Chong-yue’s solo show, the erotic feeling represented by roses, the intra-uterine dilator used in induced abortion and the pictures about the propaganda columns of family planning hung around the walls of exhibiting room all together enable the people visiting this exhibition at once have an extremely tensing heart. The discussion of this show centers not only on the family planning policy itself but also on the social problems in the process of their implementation.

Beginning from 2007, He Chong-yue has gone to the countryside to take the pictures about these propaganda columns of family planning, which are scattered nearby the expressways and in the villages. He Chong-yue selects these phenomena with a consciousness to find problems and records them with camera, therefore these pictures are not a simple representation of these phenomena. Usually, it is difficult for people to distinguish the traditional documentary photography from the documentary photography with a concept of modern art. In fact, the differences between them are characterized by following. All the information traditional documentary photography tries to tell people are contained in the pictures and it records what are happening at present, such as those pictures of the serious Wenchuan Earthquake, which try to tell people how serious this earthquake is. Yet, the pictures about 《Family Planning》taken by He Chong-yue tries to utilize these propaganda columns of family planning for expressing He Chong-yue’s viewpoint and stand as to the problems concerned in the pictures through the context mode specially designed by him. Thus what the series of pictures taken by He Chong-yue want to tell the people is: how should we treat these propaganda columns of family planning? How reasonable after all is the concept when we regard the family planning as our national policy? How legitimate is the approach when we implement the policy of family planning?

In reality, every citizen has his right to discuss the national policies. If a policy comes into play from above to below with some slogans forming, then such kind of slogans will be surely impracticable and even “false, big and empty”. The propaganda slogans in the pictures of family planning taken by He Chong-yue are such the case. In order to embody the correctness of family planning policy, people once put forward such kind of slogans as follows, which we found.

1. Boys and girls are all the same; and girls are also our successors.
2. A daughter also has the ability and is willing to hold up a family and to support the parents in their remaining years.
3. Sons-in-law are the same as our sons.
4. Those who insist on giving birth to boys will surely live a poorer and poorer life.
5. If a couple give birth to a clever daughter, she will be surely praised by everyone.
6. Fewer birth is the best way for those who want to grow rich rapidly.
7. Sound child rearing makes people thriving year by year, prosperity through hard work enables families heading straight for a moderately high standard of living.
8. Cultivate the culture of childbirth, renew the concept of marriage and childbirth, and promote the spiritual civilization.
9. Do away with the old feudal customs in thousand years and set up a new social practice in marriage and childbirth of this generation.
10. If the backward perception is not changed, it will do badly to both country and people themselves who will surely become poorer.
11. Birth control makes a great contribution to the present age and its benefits will last thousand years.
12. Try hard to realize the harmonious and sustainable development of the population and economical society.

Those slogans mentioned above are only part of the slogans appearing in the propaganda columns of family planning in the countryside. Now He Chong-yue has shot them one by one and brought them into the combination of his exhibition. As a matter of fact, there are many similar propaganda columns like these in many places of China and of course there exist still many slogans of this kind. No matter how dignified sound the slogans of family planning in the propaganda columns, yet the social source of unplanned birth has not yet been completely solved. In the undeveloped areas, the problem whether the peasants give birth to boys or girls will surely have something to do with the productive forces for agriculture, therefore the better-off families will inevitably bear no relation to fewer children. If a couple give birth to a girl, they will be confronted with lack of labor force. Then how can the control birth policy make the family well-to-do at that time? In fact, the maximum negative influence of family planning policy is the direct reason to cause the vicious cycle of abandoning female infants to have a second try for boys, which then results in the serious disproportion between the males and females. All these are what He Chong-yue sighs out with feeling in front of propaganda columns of family planning. Therefore, He Chong-yue’s solo show is equal to a declaration that he takes a firm stand to oppose this national policy of family planning by means of his exhibition in which we can get to know his firm opposition. Now let’s come back to He Chong-yue’s exhibition site, all the information of his works are concentrated on one point, an opening intra-uterine dilator behind the propaganda columns of family planning for future better life——as if an order to carry on induced abortion is about to be issued.