I’m about 10 episodes into The Longest Day in Chang’an and I’m of two minds (at least) about this drama. On the one hand, it’s visually stunning, with every episode like a quality piece of cinema, with tension and creative storytelling. On the other it makes me uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, because it feels like there is a subliminal plot cooked up by the CCP to justify ongoing policies in Xinjiang and other provinces regarding ethnic minorities. Is that a stretch?
The plot revolves around finding and disrupting a terrorist plot by a gang of ethnic outsiders who look and dress unlike the ethnic majority of Chang’an. The police force and then ‘armies’ are called upon to take all means necessary to round them up. The threat of terrorism by Uighurs and other ethnic minorities is one of the main justifications given for the programs to forcefully homogenize and assimilate minorities.
Dramas and movies have long been used as propaganda pieces, this is nothing new, but when a piece is so visually seductive as what I’ve seen in this drama, I feel somehow especially more manipulated than usual, when in comparison with the amusingly jingoistic Arsenal Military Academy (also recently finished), where everything is much more surface level/gung-ho in its presentation.
Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll continue with this one, for these reasons. What do you think? How do you feel about blatant nationalism versus more subtle propaganda in your entertainment? What are the dramas that most come to mind when this topic is raised? I’d love to hear your opinions.