CCP's 'No. 1 Designer' Dies; Other High Profile Party Member Artists Die One by One


Since the death of former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin in November 2022 and China’s abrupt U-turn on its “zero-COVID” policy amid a growing outbreak, a number of senior CCP members have passed away successively. Four painters with close ties to the communist party from China’s top arts academy all passed away with in six days.

Zhou Lingzhao

Zhou Lingzhao, a famous Chinese painter, designer, and professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, died in Beijing on Jan. 3 at the age of 104.

Born in 1919 in Pingjiang County, Hunan Province, Zhou grew up loving art under the influence of his mother, who was a Chinese painting teacher. After graduating from elementary school, he attended an art college and continued to study painting.

Zhou participated in propaganda activities in favor of fighting in the war against Japan and went to Burma to assist the Chinese Expeditionary Force set up by the government of the Republic of China. However, after coming into contact with the CCP’s underground organization, he was gradually lured by its false propaganda and joined the CCP in 1949 when it stole power.

Zhou’s first major job for the CCP was to paint a portrait of former CCP leader Mao Zedong, which was hung on the Tiananmen Tower for the CCP’s founding ceremony of the state. The portrait was 6 meters (20 feet) high and 4.6 meters (15 feet) wide, and took Zhou and his wife, Chen Ruoju who was his student, more than ten days to complete.

Epoch Times Photo
Mao Zedong’s portrait in Tiananmen Square on March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Many of the images designed after the CCP’s theft of power are associated with Zhou. He designed the emblem of the CCP, the emblem of the CCP Political Consultative Conference, the flag of the Communist Youth League, the flag of the Young Pioneers, the Aug. 1 medal that is the highest recognition in the CCP military, the “Order of Independence and Freedom,” and the “Order of Liberation.”

Zhou participated in the art design of the second, third, and fourth sets of Renminbi issued in 1950, 1959, and 1978. He also designed many stamps, murals, and oil paintings for the CCP, lending all his talents on the communist regime.

After Zhou’s death, the CCP’s official media called him “the No. 1 designer” for the regime.

It is worth noting that prior to Zhou death, a group of artists from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where Zhou worked, died one by one. All of them were heavyweights in the Academy and members of the CCP.

Zhong Han

The day before Zhou’s death, Zhong Han, a famous oil painter, professor, and former director of the Academic Committee of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, died at the age of 94 on Jan. 2 in the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing.

Zhong also joined the CCP in 1949. He had painted a number of oil paintings in support of the CCP, such as “On the Yan River” and “Crossing the Yellow River to the East.”

Hou Yimin

One day earlier, Hou Yimin, the first president of the China Mural Association, professor, and former first vice president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, died on New Year’s Day in Beijing at the age of 92.

Hou joined the CCP in 1948 and became the secretary of an underground branch in the same year. In 1950, he went to the front line of the Korean War as a special correspondent for the People’s Daily, the CCP’s mouthpiece. In 1958, he also participated in the design of the third set of Renminbi.

Li Huaji

The fourth one death was Li Huaji, a renowned muralist, professor, and former head of the mural painting department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He died on Dec. 29, 2022, at the age of 91.

After 1949, Li served as editor of the Pictorial Office of the CCP’s Second Field Army and the Southwest Military Region, and editor of Xinhua Daily in Chongqing. He also worked as an art designer for the opening ceremony of the 1990 Asian Games held in Beijing.

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A coffin is loaded from a hearse into a storage container at the Dongjiao crematorium and funeral home, one of several in the city that handles COVID-19 cases, in Beijing, China, on Dec. 18, 2022. (Getty Images)

Within six days, four painters from the Central Academy of Fine Arts died in quick succession, but their official obituaries do not mention their cause of death. At a time when the CCP virus (COVID-19) is in full swing in China, many senior professors affiliated with the CCP are dying one by one, including at China’s prestigious Tsinghua and Peking Universities.

The key figures who followed the CCP have influenced a whole generation of Chinese people, said Ji Da, a China expert.

“The CCP virus is targeting the CCP. The death of Jiang Zemin marks the beginning of its disintegration,” Ji told The Epoch Times on Jan. 6. “The Party members and those who made contributions to it are being taken away by Heaven one by one. The only way to save one’s life is to quit the CCP as soon as possible.”

The Central Academy of Fine Arts was formerly known as the National Beijing Art College, which was founded in 1918 before the founding of the CCP. However, after the CCP stole power in China, it merged its Lu Xun Academy of Art with the National Beijing Art College, thereby establishing the Central Academy of Fine Arts and tainting the academy with the communist ideology.

The Central Academy of Fine Arts is the only art school directly under China’s Ministry of Education and has always played a very important role in the country’s arts circle.

Shawn Lin

Shawn Lin is a Chinese expatriate living in New Zealand. He has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009, with a focus on China-related topics.

Angela Bright

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