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Chapter 4 examines how the Communist Party co-opted existing narratives about fangyan and the nation for its revolutionary goals from the 1930s through the 1950s. On the one hand, the CCP’s increasingly efficient bureaucracy, buttressed by linguists at the state-sponsored Chinese Academy of Sciences, declared Putonghua the Chinese national language and framed fangyan as obsolete remnants of a past that would naturally disappear on their own. On the other hand, those in theater, radio, and literature proclaimed that fangyan were indispensable to their objective of spreading revolutionary messages. Together, the coexistence of these two narratives shows that despite the CCP’s national language agenda, there were powerful voices declaring that a revolution “from the people” should be presented in the language of those people, i.e., fangyan.
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