Foreign Policy Digital

Chinese Propaganda Paints Hong Kong as a Spoiled Brat

The mainland’s new nationalism comes with a heavy dose of old patriarchy.

Hong Kong protesters know how they see themselves. One crowdfunded statue of the “Goddess of Democracy”—adapted from an image originally adopted during protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989—depicts the archetypal “front line” protester, complete with hard hat, gas mask, and protective goggles.

It isn’t the only female image used by the protesters, whose gender mix is fairly equal. After a young woman offering first aid was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet by the police, images of a woman wearing an eye patch, or with roses dripping blood over her eye, took hold.

China also depicts the protesters as women—but not as brave or martyred ones. Instead, it turns to the language of both parenthood and misogyny.

China is hardly unique in depicting relationships between ruler and subject

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