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Chinese Photo Exhibit Exposes Years of Meticulous Propaganda

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At the top is the original photo, showing Hu Jintao (L) and Deng Xiaoping (R) shaking hands. In the bottom photo Jiang Zemin is edited out by Xinhua. (Xinhua, Ming Pao)

The exhibition, titled the “Fourth Guangzhou Triennial Unseen Art Exhibition,” or “Unseen Art” for short, displayed over 100 pieces collected by Beijing artist Zhang Dali over the years, many of them touching on politically sensitive topics.

Coming face to face with fact and fiction made people think and comment about the deception they have been subjected to by state media over many years.

Forty-year-old Mr. Liu, who attended the show with his wife, told Hong Kong media Ming Pao that he was a high-school student at the time of the Tiananmen Square protests. He said he had watched Hong Kong media reports and remembered the events vividly.

“Tiananmen Square was filled with students and the tents they had set up. Then the army came and opened fire, which drove students away and emptied the square.”

Referring to the “Tank Man,” Liu said, “The tank tried to go around him, but he was unyielding and continued to stand in front of the tank.”

But owing to the regime’s media censorship, many people, especially those born after the ’90s, don’t know about the actual June 4 events on Tiananmen Square.

After looking at the “Tank Man” photos, Zhang, a 22-year-old student of Guangzhou Art School, said he still doesn’t know what happened in the photo, he only knows that one of them is the fact and the other one is forged, the Ming Pao article said.

A statement by artist Zhang Dali on the museum’s artist page said it took a great amount of effort to recover the missing originals without help from the media. He wanted to bring the images back to life and display them in their rightful place.

Chen Wenzhe, head of the Guangdong Museum of Art marketing department, said the purpose of Dali’s work is to recover historical facts, and the content of each art piece on display was approved by the provincial cultural department.

Asked whether he anticipated any issues arising over the June 4 photo, Chen replied that it was hard to say. “The artist did not exaggerate, and we only focus on the art itself,” he said.

Read the original Chinese article.

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