Motor Trend magazine's blog reported this week that Cadillac, the flagship luxury brand of our very own Government Motors, has engaged in a sponsorship deal with a state-owned Chinese propaganda film company to link its cars with a new film on the glorious history of the Chinese Communist Party. The film, entitled (depending on translation) "Birth of a Party" or "The Great Achievement of Founding the Party," is reportedly being produced by the party to celebrate its 90th birthday. It is intended as a prequel of sorts to last year's star-studded nationalist extravaganza "The Founding of a Republic," and will focus on the events leading up to the 1921 birth of the Chinese Communist Party.
An anonymous blogger at China Auto Web, a website that monitors China's auto industry, had this to say:
According to an announcement posted on Shanghai GM’s official web site yesterday, whose title reads "joining hands with China Film Group, Cadillac whole-heartedly supports the making of the Birth of a Party" (sorry if this makes you puke), the filming team and stars will be riding the Cadillac SLS, marketed as a luxury executive saloon.
Curiously, there was no mention of this marketing coup on GM’s or Cadillac’s English-language websites.
While it would be historically inaccurate to have Mao riding around in a 1921 Cadillac touring car (the Great Helmsman was more of a Red Flag man), the filmmakers would have no trouble working Caddies into more recent depictions of the party's exploits. Earlier this month, GM announced that "Year-to-date, Cadillac car sales (in China) reached 10,445 units, a year-on-year rise of 157.5%, making it the fastest-growing luxury car brand." (To put that in perspective, Cadillac posted total U.S. sales in August alone at 12,689, and sales of all autos in China are expected to be around 13 million in 2010.)
This deal raises all sorts of other troubling issues: Given the fact that the United States government still owns a good chunk of GM, does this mean that U.S. taxpayers are now footing the bill for Chinese propaganda? Or, because the Chinese government financed in loans so much of the money the U.S. government used to bail out GM, does that mean they are just laundering their own money back for their own benefit?
Its also tough to square the ideological circle on this one: An erstwhile symbol of American capitalist luxury, now owned by the U.S. government and its "workers," partnering on a propaganda film celebrating the birth of Chinese Communist Party, which has benefitted enormously from steering China away from actual communist economic policy.
Behold the wonders of the Obama administration's economic policy in action.