Journalism Prize for Photo of China’s President With Umbrella

Chinese president Xi Jinping holds an umbrella in front of riot police in this Photoshopped image.
Chinese president Xi Jinping holds an umbrella in front of riot police in this Photoshopped image.
This photo of Chinese president Xi Jinping holding an umbrella won China's National News Award. Photo: Xinhua News Agency.

This photo of Chinese president Xi Jinping holding an umbrella won China’s National News Award. Photo: Xinhua News Agency.

A photograph of Chinese president Xi Jinping holding an umbrella has garnered the country’s top photojournalism prize, the National News Award, reports the Huffington Post.

The umbrella has gained symbolic importance since the photograph was taken in July of 2013. Then hailed by news outlets such as the Atlantic as uniquely informal view of the leader—the government-monitored media rarely releases such humdrum images of state leaders—the photo has now become fraught with political significance.

Thanks to last month’s Hong Kong protests, which have become widely known as the Umbrella Revolution after demonstrators used the foul weather gear to shield themselves from police tear gas assaults, the umbrella has become a sign resistance against tyranny (see “Artists Design Logos for Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution“).

In response to the unrest, the government has arrested several mainland Chinese artists who have voiced support for the Umbrella Revolution (see “Artists Arrested for Supporting Hong Kong Protests“). Xi has been outspoken on the subject of art of late, warning artists not to pursue commercial success at the expense of artistic and moral integrity (see “Chinese President Calls Artists “Market Slaves’“).

Chinese president Xi Jinping holds an umbrella in front of riot police in this Photoshopped image.

Chinese president Xi Jinping holds an umbrella in front of riot police in this Photoshopped image.

Since the announcement of the award, a popular Internet meme inspired by the prize-winning photograph has been making the rounds, with Xi’s umbrella having been Photoshopped yellow, the color of the pro-democratic movement.


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