This is the introduction to my independent research paper entitled, “The Open Door Policy and Advertising.”
Art, propaganda, and advertising have been intimately intertwined since the People’s Republic of China (hereon PRC) was established in 1949. China’s policy towards consumerism was one of disdain as it was associated with capitalism, considered to be evil by the Chinese government. In this paper, I argue that the Open Door Policy created a shift in the Chinese mindset and political stance towards consumerism as demonstrated in Chinese advertising from 1949 through the late 1980s. Consumerism became essential to the Chinese economic miracle during the 1980s, and was thus encouraged by the Chinese government. The way that Chinese interpreted and used art was one of many ways that China stimulated consumerism; art from 1976 was specifically propaganda, whereas art a decade later was used a myriad of ways. This paper will explore why Communist China allowed a consumerist shift following the Open Door Policy, and how advertising acted as a player in China’s following economic success. Advertising, as a means of communication, encouraged individualism within Communism to benefit the whole of society.