image of the original vintage 1982 Chinese communist propaganda poster titled Observe law and discipline, strengthen the safeguarding of public order

Observe law and discipline, strengthen the safeguarding of public order

Regular price £70.00 Sale

Artist: Shen Shaolun

Year: 1982

Publisher: Shanghai People's Fine Art Publishing House

Size (mm): 521x776

Condition: Very good, some creasing and staining to margins

The sigexiandaihua (Four Modernisations) of agriculture, industry, national defence, and science and industry were the policies encated by Deng Xiaoping from 1978. They were aimed at achieving the modernisation of China by the year 2000 by reforming the economy, opening the country to the outside world and transforming the education system. The arts were also modernised by opening up to outside influences and experimenting with new concepts - with Deng asserting that the field of the arts no longer be limited to politics. Art and literature did not now have to exist solely to serve the people, and artistic styles outside the restrictions of Socialist Realism could be developed. 

The reforms did also bring their own problems and issues, however. The freedom to acquire goods created a surge in materialism, and the perceived successes of others led to many believing that new inequalities had been created. In part this led to an increase in crime, which along with issues of unemployment created feelings that society was breaking down. The security of the tiefanwan (iron rice bowl) of earlier periods, where workers were guaranteed employment, had also begun to recede with the embracing of a free market system. To ease public fears various campaigns were initiated including the wujiang (Five Stresses) of 1981, promoting good moral conduct in the areas of decorum, manners, hygiene, discipline, and morals. Many posters of this period were focused on maintaining discipline and civilised behaviour. In this poster, against what appears to be a night-time image of the Bund in Shanghai, two security guards are walking their beat to preserve order, prevent crime, and reassure the public. The armband on the the figure on the right reads zhiqin or 'on-duty'.