Representations of History in Chinese Film and Television


Chongqing Tanpan
(Chongqing Negotiations)


(Feature Film, PR China, 1993)


The film “Chongqing Tanpan” (Chongqing Negotiations) was released in the PR China in 1993 on occasion of the 100th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth. It was first shown in the west wing of the Hall of the People (where the People’s National Congress is convened) on the date of Mao’s birthday, which already reveals its political backing. The film is designed to honour Mao and his role for creating a new China out of war-time destruction, bolstering the claims to legitimacy of rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao is shown as part of a collective party leadership, but at the same time as the clearly dominant figure. With the topic of the Chongqing negotiations in 1945 between the CCP and the Guomindang (GMD) to prevent civil war – though historically ending in failure to achieve peace, the will of Mao (and the CCP) to correspond to the people’s yearning for peace to reconstruct China after the long years of war with the Japanese, is underlined. In contrast, the GMD under Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) is shown as acting to the contrary which indirectly explains why the following civil war nevertheless was unavoidable. Given the fact, that 1993 at the time of the release of the movie, the cross-Taiwan-Straits relations were at their heights, the film also transports the message of a possible peaceful rapprochement between the CCP-governed PR China and the GMD-governed Taiwan (including also one Taiwanese female actor in the cast). Peace and doves thus are the dominant thread running through the whole film.

“Chongqing Tanpan” was produced by a team of experienced directors and a script writer specialised in historical topics who adapted a novel (which was not only published in the PRC but in Taiwan as well) for the film script. This team is closely connected to the propaganda department, and the film was produced by the Changchun Film Studios Group. It also received several awards in the PR China.

For some background information on the film and its production see here. For a synopsis of the film please see here. For comments please contact us .



© 2007 Gotelind Müller-Saini