Since the Chinese Communist Party took power 70 years ago, its vast propaganda machine has used every available medium to shore up public support, from newspaper and TV to nostalgic theater pageants and Internet discussion forums. As technologies have changed, however, a former totalitarian standby has fallen out of favor: the propaganda poster. Communist China viewed through decades of propaganda posters was a uniformly cheerful and confident nation -- though the smiling, apple-cheeked faces and bucolic peasant scenes hide the bitter realities of life under Mao's regime.
The above poster, titled "Tempering Red Hearts in Stormy Waves," was produced in 1972 by four graduates from one of China's top art academies, the Zhejiang Art Academy (now the China Academy of Art): Dong Xiaoming, Zong Wenlong, Gao Eryi, and Liang Pingbo. The boy standing proudly in the center of the photo looks to be a member of the Little Red Guards, a youth group established during the Cultural Revolution.