Zhou Enlai called her “the most beautiful woman in China.” In her 90s, the CCP used her for a slander campaign against Falun Gong—which is still going on.
by Yang Feng
Qin Yi, one of the most famous Chinese actresses, died this year on May 9, three months after she had turned 100. It is not surprising that Chinese state television showed in the months following her dead some of her old movies, including “Woman Basketball Player no. 5.” Despite including a propaganda element, they allowed Qin Yi to show her considerable skills—not to mention that Chinese premier Zhou Enlai once famously called her “the most beautiful woman in China.”
However, Chinese TV audiences continue to be offered also videos that Qin Yi recorded after she turned 90, where she vituperates against Falun Gong calling it a criminal organization. Since she has also starred in historical plays as a theatre and movie actress, she claims in these videos to be an expert in traditional Chinese culture and states that Falun Gong’s shows misrepresent it. She accuses the United States to conspire with Falun Gong to promote anti-China campaigns.
There is no doubt that Qin Yi was a Communist and, unlike other movie stars of her generation who escaped to Hong Kong or Taiwan, decided to remain in Mainland China after the CCP victory and work with the Party. However, she maintained a somewhat independent spirit and was severely persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. She was prevented from acting and was sent to work as a peasant in an agricultural commune. Her son, a painter who suffered from schizophrenia, was denied proper medical care.
Qin Yi was rehabilitated under Deng Xiaoping and resumed her career, including through television series. She also took care of her schizophrenic son, until he died in 2007.
One would like to remember Qin Yi as a woman who became internationally famous for her beauty, a devout mother, and a talented actress. It is sad that the CCP decided to exploit a ninety-year-old woman for propaganda purposes. The anti-Falun-Gong videos do not add anything to the glory of Qin Yi, while they testify that to achieve its own purposes the CCP does not respect anybody or anything.
It is not useful to analyze the content of the videos. Qin Yi had been obviously coached to repeat the official disinformation. They do not tell us anything meaningful about Falun Gong—and not even about Qin Yi. But they do tell us something about the ruthless tactics of the CCP.