Great moments in architecture: China’s propaganda organ takes its status seriously
posted at 9:31 am on May 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Via the Atlantic, Beijing’s propaganda machine is working overtime to suppress commentary about … the new headquarters of Beijing’s propaganda machine. Architectural art is supposed to express the reality of its function, and this may just be the pinnacle of the art form:
The People’s Daily is the main state-owned newspaper of China’s communist party, and everyone was pretty psyched about the paper’s new Beijing headquarters. The building is massive, imposing, and, uh, currently shaped like a colossal penis. Now, as construction workers try to finish the engineering, the country’s censors are working overtime to stop Chinese people on social media from laughing at the expense of the very paper in charge of controlling the country’s message.According to The International Business Times, the nearly 500-foot tower won’t be finished until this time next year, but the war on mocking it has already begun. …
And then you have papers like The Times of India, with (unintentionally funny?) introductions to their architecture stories: “The new 150-meter tall headquarters of the People’s Daily, the main organ of the Communist Party….” And then you have this: As the blog HugChina reported last month, a rather unfortunate nickname for the paper emerged right after the first photos of the construction site surfaced, before the censors stepped in:
People’s Daily (人民日报) has long been called Raping People Daily (日人民报) by Chinese netizens for chronically misleading the people with false reports. It was understood that the propagandists in Beijing do not like this nickname, but that they chose the bizarre design of the new headquarters reveals that it may not necessarily be so.
Shouldn’t we be celebrating this uncommonly honest expression of art in China? Let’s hope that Beijing doesn’t go limp on us and pull out of this building, but instead stay firm and handle this erection with as much dignity as possible. And let’s hope they don’t get too pissed off about all the kidding, either.