The latest edition of Chinese propaganda featuring children is about Huawei

Huawei is beauty.
Huawei is beauty.
Image: Screengrab/HKFP
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When it comes to praising China’s achievements, some people seem to think children make the best messengers.

The latest example is a patriotic song about Huawei, the China telecom-equipment maker that’s been the focus of a campaign by the US to get allies not to use its products, buffeted by the arrest of its chief financial officer,  and charged with multiple serious crimes in the US.

In the video, more than two dozen children wearing T-shirts with the characters for “China” on them literally sing the praise of the company in a song called “Huawei is beauty,” or 华为美, which went viral on Chinese social media late yesterday, state media Global Times reported.

“Teachers teach us to love the country. We love homegrown mobile brand Huawei,” sing the children, who apparently come from a government-funded community center for women and children in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, according to the credits.

Huawei said it is not behind the song campaign. “We weren’t asked or informed about it,” said a spokesperson to Quartz.

The song comes as Huawei’s been on a PR offensive to combat accusations from countries such as the US and Australia that its equipment poses a danger to national security, with its normally reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei granting multiple interviews to foreign news outlets  this month.

But it’s definitely not the first time children appear in videos praising initiatives backed by China, as propaganda efforts aimed at online audience have developed.

In May 2017, for example, children appeared in videos promoting China’s grand global infrastructure investment plan known as the Belt and Road Initiative (previously it was known as One Belt One Road).

In one of them, made by a production group called Fuxing Road Studio, a group of children of different nationalities, purportedly from countries involved in the plan, sing joyfully about supply chains—prompting a parody by John Oliver. Although, can you parody something that already appears to be some form of parody?

“When trade routes open up, that’s when the sharing starts,” sing the kids (in the Fuxing video, not the Oliver one). “Resources changing hands and shipping auto parts.”

The studio’s name appears to be a reference to president Xi Jinping’s most pressing agenda—Fuxing (复兴), or China’s “rejuvenation.” The same studio in 2015 made an animated music video to promote China’s jargon-laden five-year economic plan, though that one doesn’t feature children.

The second and third videos feature an American journalist working at state-run news outlet China Daily explaining BRI as a bedtime story to his then five-year-old daughter.

The same year, an organization affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education taught children how to prevent foreign espionage by making an animated video featuring a schoolboy sharing how he stopped his father from nearly being manipulated by foreign spies.