Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Iron Man II

I commented earlier on the return to Chinese pop culture of "Iron Man Wang Jinxi," the famous Daqing model worker whose life is depicted in a new movie hyped by a whole special section of Workers Daily.

It seems like the section was more than a coincidence.

Now, the paper is reporting on screenings of the film by local branches of the All China Federation of Trade Unions. After one such event in Fujian, Workers Daily says that workers were moved by the "spirit of Iron Man" to "join in the construction of Haixi." Apparently, Haixi is a new economic zone with special "fiscal system, tax and industrial policies" designed to attract Taiwanese investment.

It seems cynical in the extreme to use a hero of a what Ching Kwan Lee calls the old "socialist social contract" to promote an SEZ. But there might be something else at work here: a bid by the ACFTU for relevance by appealing to a time when it enjoyed the trust of workers. Given the alternatives---the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, etc.---this might not be such a bad thing.

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