In 1950 the Chinese Communist Party published a comic called 'Great Changes after the Liberation'. Its aim was to ‘awaken people’s disgust toward imperialists and counter-revolutionaries’ by contrasting the inequalities of pre-Liberation China with the promises of the new regime. The comic was recently posted on Weibo [Nick: isn’t Weibo like Twitter? In what way was the comic posted on it?], and generated a lot of online discussion before its removal. Though some of its predictions have come true, such as the rise of the renminbi against the dollar and the need for foreigners to obey the law, plenty of people pointed out the similarities between China now and before 1949.
I took these pictures in the villages around Turpan, a small oasis town an hour's drive from Ürümqi, earlier this year. Propaganda murals used to be common throughout the Chinese countryside, but are much rarer now. The slogans are in both Uighur and Chinese. Language is a tricky political subject in Xinjiang at the moment, as it is in Tibet – there have been protests over plans to phase Uighur and Tibetan out of classrooms.