The World of Tomorrow: Imagining Afro-Asian Solidarity and the Great Leap Forward of Culture in the PRC in the 1950s

This project explores the manufacture, distribution and public collective receptions of the internationalist image of Afro-Asian solidarity in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the Great Leap Forward period in the late 1950s. It examines the ‘Afro-Asian solidarity’ imagery generated particularly through the Sino-Middle Eastern cultural exchanges, which were made possible through the Afro-Asian cooperation initiatives. News about the Afro-Asian struggles against the oppressors and fraternal friendships created a transnational temporality, reinforcing the conviction that the renewal of China shoulders a higher purpose of uniting the weak and the oppressed against the strong and powerful to safeguard the hard-earned peace in the world. It in turn fostered a collective optimism among the Chinese general public, bringing the seemingly impossible Communist promise of an ultimate human liberation closer to life.

Dr Zhiguang Yin is a lecturer in the Modern Languages Department and the Director of Global China Research Centre at the University of Exeter. His research interest lies mainly in the area of Chinese modern intellectual and legal history, 19-20 century history of international relations, and contemporary Sino-Middle Eastern relations, with a strong curiosity of understanding the formation of our modern “world-view”. His current research project investigates the Chinese foreign relations with the third world countries, especially the Middle Eastern countries during the 1950s and 60s.