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Red Guard chic

In China, wedding portraits with military uniforms dating to the

October 11, 2009|Associated Press

HANGZHOU, CHINA — Sun Fengqing is not getting married in a white dress, or even a traditional cheongsam. She's going to wear a green military outfit with a Red Star on her hat and a Mao Tse-tung badge -- the uniform of the young Red Guard from China's Cultural Revolution.

The choice of outfit shows how, 60 years after the founding of the People's Republic of China, revolutionary images have taken on different meaning for the nation's young generation.

"It's just different from other wedding pictures," said Sun, a 24-year-old advertisement company worker, who is marrying 26-year-old dancer Xu Shuo.

The nostalgia about the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution comes even though the subject is still taboo in China. The revolution sprang from a factional struggle within the Communist Party, and the Red Guards invaded workplaces and universities to remove anti-socialist influences.

Estimates of the number of people who were killed, starved to death, driven to suicide or died in acts related to political persecution run from the tens of thousands to around a million.

The idea for the special Red Guard-style wedding photos came from Zou Sigen, manager of the 9th Channel Photo Studio in Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province, who thought they would be popular.

"People are more open-minded, more eager to change," Zou said. Two or three couples a week come for Red Guard portraits, which cost $290, about the same as regular wedding portraits.

"I think it is fun to pose as a Red Guard. That is a special period that most young people do not know about. It definitely makes you feel different when you are in the green army uniform," Zou said.

"I think it's very cool, but it doesn't mean it is related to the history of the revolution," Sun said.

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