China’s new attempt to promote politics domestically through social media has raised controversy within the country and abroad. The video featuring animated cartoons with American accents, features Albert Einstein and David Bowie. Further, the video uses American slang and an excessive amount of the word “like”. This new form of propaganda has critics conflicted on whether to praise China for it’s transparency or condemn the fact that they are promoting their Soviet-styled centrally planned economy. It also leaves us on the North American front to ponder on whether we should be offended by this type of media.
Imagine the Chainsmoker’s #SELFIE meeting Dumb Ways to Die, a video on public safety released by the Metro Trains in Australia. The video’s catchy tune, animation and use of lyrics bares similarities to both songs. The video also shows a high level of cultural diversity displaying animations that have a striking resemblance to Western symbols like the illuminati pyramid and the NBA symbol alongside common Chinese icons like ping pong and the Great Wall. In addition, the video emphasizes that this meeting importance with foolish questions: “It’s a huge deal! Like how huge? Huge! Like, China Huge? Yeah, China huge!”.
The new video “The 13 What?- A song about China’s 13th 5-year-plan” was produced by a mainland Chinese animation studio that often works on state propaganda. The aim of the video is to inform English-speaking foreigners about the nation’s fifth plenum- a four day policy-setting meeting that addresses the nation’s main economic and development initiatives for 2016-2020.
Positive critics praise China for increasing transparency across the international community. The video describes the background of the plenum and its significance in a way the international community can easily understand. Moreover, China has been releasing data and reports related to the meeting in order to increase domestic and international interest in the matter.
In addition, the innovative promotion method reaches to the younger demographic as well, explaining politics in a simplified way. On the other hand, the video clearly brainwashes viewers with its catchy tune and repetition. China also may use this platform to show its dominant position on our global economic playing field.
Furthermore, the video strikes fear amongst Western nations who are worried about China’s growing influence in our global economy. This situation is the first time China has been able to reach the Western youth by Westernized promotion. The video vehemently flaunts its Soviet-styled centrally planned economy. With the video being in a form that is so easy for the Westernized population to comprehend, China can easily promote its political styles to the general public and especially the impressionable youth.
The portrayal of North American youth in the video receives negative feedback from foreign teenagers. The fact that Chinese agencies believe that the only way to communicate to Western youths must be through using ‘like’ every sentence and unnecessary rhetorical questions causes many of us on the North American front to reject the way we are perceived by the Chinese community.
China has always been the underdog in today’s international race. Their sudden economic growth has certainly confirmed the fears of many Westerners. The former country that has been known to enjoy keeping to themselves in many political matters through technology has found a way to promote their communist regime beyond international borders.
Written By: Gabrielle Ho
China’s 5th Plenum: 5 things you need to know. (2015, October 22). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/22/chinas-fifth-plenum-5-things-you-need-to-know-about-beijing-policy-meeting.html
‘Hey, you guys heard what’s going on in China?’ Beijing propaganda machine’s animated video promotes five-year plan. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1872737/hey-you-guys-heard-whats-going-china-beijing-propaganda