kimberley crofts


an information and communication designer living in London

Wall Newspapers

Many mainstream newspapers in China post their sheets in displays on the street as a cheap means of reaching a large audience, this is to be contrasted with the postings of public-generated news and opinion.

Dazibao: Big character posters


Reading dazibao (public newspapers). Kunming, Yunnan, China Image: QT Luong

From Wikipedia:

Big-character posters (Traditional Chinese 大字報, Simplified Chinese 大字报, pinyin dàzìbào, literally “big-character report”) are handwritten, wall-mounted posters using large-sized Chinese characters, used as a means of protest, propaganda, and popular communication. They have been used in China since imperial times, but became more common when literacy rates rose after the 1911 revolution. They have also incorporated limited-circulation newspapers, excerpted press articles, and pamphlets intended for public display. A key trigger in the Cultural Revolution was the publication of a dazibao on May 25, 1966, by Nie Yuanzi (聂元梓) and others at Peking University, claiming that the university was controlled by bourgeois anti-revolutionaries. The poster came to the attention of Mao Zedong, who had it broadcast nationally and published in the People’s Daily. Big-character posters were soon ubiquitous, used for everything from sophisticated debate to satirical entertainment to rabid denunciation; being attacked in a big-character poster was enough to end one’s career. One of the “four great rights” in the 1975 state constitution was the right to write dazibao.

Big-character posters sprouted again during the Democracy Wall Movement, starting in 1978; one of the most famous was The Fifth Modernization, whose bold call for democracy brought instant fame to its author, Wei Jingsheng.The Democracy Wall (Chinese: 西单民主墙; pinyin: xī dān mín zhǔ qiáng) was a long brick wall on Xidan Street,[1] Xicheng District, Beijing, which became the focus for democratic dissent. Beginning in December 1978, in line with the Communist Party of China‘s policy of “seeking truth from facts,” activists in the Democracy movement — such as Xu Wenli — recorded news and ideas, often in the form of big-character posters (dazibao), during a period known as the “Beijing Spring“.

An article here which has this picture

cr dazibao

(Reading big character posters, or wall newspapers, during the GPCR)

A modern use here


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