In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

170 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 LilyXiao HongLee teaches Chinese literature; her interests include the study ofChinese women. N OTE S 1. Liu Guande, "Wo de caini zai Aozhou" (My wealth is in Australia), Xiaoshuojie (Fiction world), no. 3 (1991): 10-67, and Huangfu Jun, "Aozhou—Meili de huangyan" (Australia—Beautiful lies) Dianying, dianshi wenxue (Cinema and television literature), no. 3 (1991): 2-22. 2. Eugene A. Nida and Charles R. Taber, The Theory and Practice ofTranslation (Leiden: E. J. Brill for The United Bible Societies, 1969), pp. 22-28. m T. Christopher Jespersen, American Images ofChina: 1931-1949. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. xx, 189 pp. Hardcover $39.50, isbn 08047 -2596-9. This is a richly detailed study ofpopular American images ofChiang Kai-shek's China during the eighteen-year period from the Japanese invasion ofManchuria to the Communist victory over the Nationalists. The author's primary focus is on individuals and organizations that played key roles in producing and marketing Americanized images of Chiang as a heroic Christian democrat, his wife as a selfsacrificing , courageous but demure first lady, and their country as a struggling, god-fearing, Asiatic America. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss Henry R. Luce, fhe founder of Time magazine and primary purveyor ofpro-Chiang "news." Jespersen sees Luce as the personification of an American expansionist ideology labeled "liberal developmentalism" by historian Emily Rosenberg. As the offspring of China missionaries (a "mishkid"), Luce combined a paternalistic sense ofmission toward China with a romanticized Christian patriotism. Combining a "shrewd sense ofmass taste" and "an evangelical sense ofmission" (p. 11), Luce "pander[ed] to the American predisposition to see American traits in other peoples," and so "foster[ed] dangerous and harmful illusions about China, ones that ultimately backfired" (p. 22). According to Jespersen, three key events during the years 1927 to 1931 "created the framework for American interest later in the decade": Chiang Kai-shek's nominal unification ofChina and his conversion to Christianity, the publication© 1997 by University 0fPearl Buck's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good Earth, and the Japanese invasion ofHawai'i Press0cManchuria. That subsequent interestwas in large part shaped by Luce and Time's campaign to "sell China" by consistendy portraying Chiang and his wife in glowing terms, his enemies as opium smokers or communists, and China as Reviews 171 America's historical and geographic fraternal twin. These efforts meant, Jespersen argues, that "The period immediately preceding the American entry into World War II saw a dramatic shift in the quantity and type ofinformation Americans received about China." The images purveyed by the Luce media conglomeration (including print, radio, and film) reflected and reinforced the larger assumptions circulating in American society about China," and so are "important for understanding the fundamental hopes" and subsequent disillusionments ofthe dream ofan American China" (p. 44). Chapters 3 and 4 cover the amalgamation ofvarious philanthropic and aid groups under the coordinating auspices ofUnited China Relief (UCR), and that group's wartime activities. Using a variety of archival sources, Jespersen shows convincingly how that organization relied on the same false impressions of American-like Chinese to "educate" Americans and raise funds. Particularly revealing are the philosophical, financial, and institutional overlaps between the Luce empire and UCR. The author then examines the rise ofthe image of China as democratic and a military ally during World War II, and—borrowing from John Dower's work on the subject—the corresponding vilification ofthe Japanese . Illustrations from contemporary sources underscore the racial and pseudoscientifie dimensions ofthis process, as the Chinese seem to become "whiter" after December 7, 1941. Chapter 5 covers the emergence ofimages ofMadame Chiang Kai-shek as "the foreign equivalent ofan American woman" (p. 88). Soong Mei-ling "literally seduced the American people during World War ?" (p. 81) through a massive publicity campaign stretching from Capitol Hill to the Hollywood Bowl. She skillfully played to American notions ofgender, and validated "the message American missionaries had propagated for decades" ofa Christian, democratic China in the making. Jespersen shows persuasively how Chiang's wife—through her own astuteness and energy, and fhe efforts ofpeople like Luce and Congressman Walter Judd—became "fhe tangible proofthat Americans wanted to see in...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 170-174
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.