SOCIALIST REALISM. Endorsed by Mao Zedong in 1942 at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art, this aesthetic doctrine guided Chinese writers for nearly four decades, from the 1940s through the 1970s. A combination of realism and romanticism, socialist realism requires writers to treat subject matter that is in the mainstream of the national agenda. It holds the view that literature should reflect reality in a true-to-life fashion (which explains the popular practice of living with peasants in order to write about the countryside). Furthermore, it must articulate predetermined ideological objectives, leading to the creation of stereotyped and romanticized heroes. See also DING LING; SUN LI; ZHAO SHULI; SHA TING; HAO RAN; LIU BAIYU; OUYANG SHAN; SHEN RONG; ZHOU ERFU; ZHOU LIBO.