Launch the mighty new phase of the drive for socialist modernisation
Artist: Shi Huanmo and Song Guangsen
Publisher: Beijing Publishing House
Size (mm): 521x750
Condition: Very good, creasing, stains to lower margin
Although the concept had existed since the 1950s, the Four Modernisations program was officially announced and put into practice by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, and was the defining feature of his term in power. With the ultimate aim of leading China away from the Cultural Revolution and into the future, the policy referred to four areas of the economy to be reformed: agriculture; industry; national defence; science and technology.
Although science and technology was last on the list, it was recognised as key to achieving the aims of the whole scheme. The 'Open Door Policy' opened China up to the outside world and allowed the country access to foreign industrial and technological knowledge, while intellectuals and scientists, who had suffered so much persecution during the Cultural Revolution, were recognised as a crucial element to the plans. The events of the previous decade had led to an almost complete breakdown of the academic system; now it was necessary to place academic achievement over political fervour and begin the process of training a new generation to allow China to catch up on scientific developments.
Many posters produced during this period offer space-age interpretations of the country's future, with rockets, satellites, and highly industrialised urban centres that are often reminiscent of 1960s science fiction illustrations in the West. In this poster, a bespectacled intellectual type has been added to the older trinity of worker, peasant, soldier, as they look out at the vista of the new China with its intensive agriculture, concrete highways and space exploration.