lørdag 28. desember 2019

Under Xi's rule, what is China's image of the 'ideal' man?

Musk Ming paints Chinese men in suggestive poses. Delicate ink-formed faces stare longingly from the paper, their lean bodies dressed in green caps with red stars. Some wear white and navy sailor hats with ribbons. Others are cloaked in olive coats with brown faux fur collars. The men may not be wearing much, but the accoutrements of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) are unmistakable. 

For Ming, born and raised in China but living in Berlin since 2005, the risqué motif of homoerotic PLA soldiers came naturally. «I paint what interests me -- and from personal experience," said the 40-year-old gay artist, who uses "Musk Ming" as a pseudonym. He grew up in a military compound in northern China and attended a Chinese naval academy before moving to Germany. "The soldiers I saw were the ideal men: young, innocent ... and beautiful." 

That's hardly how China's strictly controlled state media described uniformed men in its recent exhaustive coverage of the country's grand military parade, which marked the 70th anniversary of Communist rule. 

On October 1, millions of Chinese viewers watched an all-powerful President Xi Jinping approvingly inspect 15,000 PLA troops -- mostly young male soldiers with chiseled faces and fierce looks -- as they goose-stepped through the center of Beijing, followed by columns of tanks, missiles and drones.