Hit TV dramas help CPC revolutionist thought gains ground among young Chinese
Published: Jun 23, 2021 11:08 AM
Mao Zedong and Hatem in Yan'an

Mao Zedong and Hatem in Yan'an

The five-volume series Selected Works of Mao Zedong, which collects the thoughts and experiences of the late Chairman Mao gained more fans among young Chinese after the most recent episode of TV drama The Rebel. Physical copies of the book have even sold out on an e-commerce platform.

The Chinese TV drama about a group of young people looking to save the country under the guidance of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their strong belief in their mission has been getting good audience reviews since its debut on June 7. It currently has an 8.4/10 on media review platform Douban, making it one of the highest scored Chinese TV dramas of recent months.

Actor Zhu Yilong Photo: Courtesy of iQIYI

Actor Zhu Yilong Photo: Courtesy of iQIYI

The 31st episode of the drama that aired on Sunday featured a plot that brought viewer excitement to a boil, with some reviews praising it as one of the most stunning highlights of the drama.

The lead character Lin Nansheng, played by young actor Zhu Yilong, finds himself trapped in darkness and confusion in the episode. Undergoing medical treatment in Hong Kong in 1938 and feeling desperate to save the country from Japanese invader, he accidentally hears a radio broadcast from Yan'an, the center of the CPC revolution, and it is like a light in the darkness helping him find the right direction.

The radio program was a broadcast of Mao's well-known series of speeches, On Protracted War. The speeches were given from May 26 to June 3, 1938 at the Yan'an Association for the Study of the War of Resistance against Japan. In them, Mao calls for a protracted people's war as a means for small revolutionary groups to fight the power of the state. 

Lin's excitement while listening to the speech on the radio has been reflected in the young audiences tuning in to the drama.

"Probably because I live in an age of peace, I hadn't tried to understand the experiences and thoughts of revolutionists, even Chairman Mao, but after watching the episode, I suddenly have a similar feeling as Lin Nansheng and respect the strong will and belief of our predecessors," Wan Feng, 27, an audience of the drama, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

E-book sales of Mao's speeches have skyrocketed, while orders for the second volume of Selected Works of Mao Zedong have flooded e-commerce platforms.

A 78-year-old veteran surnamed Fang living in North China's Shanxi Province told the Global Times that Selected Works of Mao Zedong is one of his favorite works as a great deal of wisdom can be found in the book that cannot only be used on the battlefield, but also help people overcome difficulties in work and life. 

"I read it every day when I was a secretary of the Party of our village," Fang recalled.

In addition to Zhu, the drama also stars other hot young entertainers who possess a large number of fans. Using hot talent to bring in younger viewers hasn't been limited to The Rebel. Faith Makes Great is an example of a show that has been using star power to get young viewers to learn more about CPC history. 

Actor Wang Yibo Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Actor Wang Yibo Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

The cast of the drama, which tells the stories of 40 historical figures during the founding and growth of the CPC, includes actor and singer Wang Yibo and actress Zhao Liying, two extremely popular stars in China's entertainment industry.

Restoring history and making audiences feel that it is real are important for this kind of TV series, Shi Wenxue, cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times.