An ideological liberation

The author is Beijing correspondent for JoongAng Ilbo.

The drama “My Liberation Notes” is gaining popularity in China. Millennials and Gen Z viewers in China sympathize with a line from Episode 12, “The desire everyone has other than worship and liberation.” Son Suk-gu, who plays Mr. Gu on the show, has earned the nickname “Orange Fairy”. The rating on drama review site Douban dropped from 8.9 to 9.2. that’s a higher score than the 7.6 that “Squid Game” received. Young Chinese viewers see themselves in siblings commuting a long distance.

However, the show is not officially distributed. Most viewers watch it using the “dark path”. Netflix and Disney Plus are also in the same situation. Lately, Marvel movies have also been blocked. The latest Doctor Strange film has been banned from screening because it includes a newspaper published by Falun Gong, which has been identified as a cult, in a newsstand. Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently said the company would have little box office trouble without the Chinese market.

China shifts responsibility and argues that Marvel movies have become an ideological and political tool of the New Cold War. The Global Times recently wrote in a column that Chapek’s comment was a “decoupling” statement. Citing the example of Netflix’s struggle, he argued that growth without the Chinese market would be a challenge.

Can “my release notes” enter China? The tears of the three Yeom siblings and Mr. Gu coincide with what the Chinese now call “leeks,” which continue to grow no matter how much you cut. It is related to the “Tang Ping” phenomenon in China, which means “choosing to lie flat and recover from blows”. The message of “My Liberation Notes” goes beyond “Tang Ping”.

In fact, liberation is what China’s ruling party likes to refer to. The army is called the Liberation Army, not the Chinese army. The civil war with the Kuomintang is called the war of liberation. Liberation expanded after opening up and reform. China has advocated ideological liberation, calling on people to abandon all stereotypes. The liberation of the ideology broke the tension of the emperor’s reign which lasted over 2,000 years. After a flood of innovation and creativity, China has become the second largest economy in the world.

However, the situation reversed a few years ago. “The Unification of Ideology” replaced the Liberation of Ideology. Innovation has diminished and the door of opportunity has closed. Tang Ping’s broadcast. Another keyword in “My Liberation Notes” is worship. Online viewers translated it as “admiration.” The parallels between liberation and admiration are ironic.

I explored reviews on Chinese social media. I found sad reactions from viewers in Shanghai which has been on lockdown for over 50 days now. Liberation Daily, the name of the party newspaper in Shanghai, overlaps with “My Liberation Notes”.