Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Iron Man returns

I will do a bunch of posts in a flurry soon (I've been out of the country and they've backed up). However, before I do anything that takes much thought, I thought I'd plug the upcoming film "Tie Ren" ("Iron Man"), which is slated for May Day. A section on the project has been set up at Workers' Daily here.

Basically, "Tie Ren" is about the great Daqing "model worker" Wang Jinxi, known as "Iron Man Wang Jinxi." With state-owned enterprise workers facing new pressures (see the recent CLB report on lessons not learned from the first round of SOE reforms) and jobless migrant workers returning to the countryside by the millions, it is the perfect time for a tribute to labor as a pillar of the country.

The fact that the film is being advertised as a part of the PRC's 60th anniversary celebrations is important---viewers will be reminded that the country was founded in part to further the interests of working people.

Some may also be reminded of the great wave of strikes that hit the northeastern rustbelt in 2002, during which several hundred beleaguered oil workers gathered to protest at a statue to Iron Man Wang Jinxi in Daqing (thousands more may have joined them if not for local government threats). As Timothy Weston writes in "The Iron Man Weeps", workers in Chongqing that same year hoisted a banner that read, "Iron Man, Iron Man look back, corrupt officials are at your back. Iron Man, Iron Man look ahead, your kids live by begging."

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