Film and the Urban Contract
For more straightforward descriptions of art and power in the prc, see, e.g.,
Barmé, In the Red; Kraus, Party and the Arty; and Link, Uses of Literature.
Pu Siwen, ‘‘Lao She xiansheng he ta de Longxugou.’’
Li Liyun, Lao She zai Beijing de zuji, 61–64.
Dragon Whisker Creek may be seen as Lao She’s fatal involvement in
politics. Lao She’s cooperation with the political leaders paved his way to
becoming one of the Communist government’s main literary mouth-
pieces. Lao She had a painful awakening in 1957, when he began to
encounter vehement political denunciations, which eventually turned to
physical violence. Dragon Whisker Creek tells of a young girl who drowns
in the ﬁlthy creek. In October 1966, following a brutal beating by Red
Guards, the author drowned himself. The playwright’s death, echoing that
of his protagonist, may be seen as an implicit accusation of the failed
revolution—little changed since Longxugou had run in the open and
taken people’s lives. The author’s death ironically invokes the play’s sym-
Lao She, ‘‘Longxugou de xiezuo jingguo,’’ 9.
Becker, Art Worlds.
See, e.g,, Campanella, Concrete Dragon; Wang Jun, Caifangben shang de
chengshi; and Visser, Cities Surround the Countryside.
Friedberg, Window Shopping, 134–35.
Castells and Borja, Local and Global, 253.
Forester, Planning in the Face of Power.
Campanella, Concrete Dragon.
Most of the people I interviewed are mentioned in the acknowledgments
to this book; others prefer to stay anonymous.
Visser, Cities Surround the Countryside, introduction. Visser points espe-
cially to the building of urban planning exhibition halls; publication of
journals such as the New Urban China (Chengshi Zhongguo) and Shanghai
City Development (Shanghai chengshi fazhan); the translation of Western
classics on urbanism; the collaboration between Chinese and Western