A heavy-handed propaganda video prompts China-loving bloggers to curse the Communist Party

A man walks in front of a video promoting the Chinese Communist party in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
A man walks in front of a video promoting the Chinese Communist party in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Image: Reuters/Carlos Barria
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Last year, a slick video with sweeping landscapes and swelling music that extolled the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to fulfill the “Chinese Dream” was released on the video site Youku. As Quartz pointed out at the time, the video was an attempt at sophisticated propaganda, and targeted specifically at an international audience. But a year later it appears to have backfired at home.

Chinese bloggers are ridiculing the video, which the state-run People’s Daily posted on its WeChat page yesterday, with a message that it will “impassion party members and move the common people.” The video concludes, “80 million communist party members…are working for everyone’s dreams.”

The video has garnered over 2,000 mostly critical comments. One blogger, played on the Chinese word qianwan, which literally means ten million and was used in the video to refer to the 80 million CCP members, but can also mean “never.” The user wrote, ”Never have a constitutional government, never recognize history, never vote, never rule by law, never watch American TV series, never publicize the officials’ property…never have press freedom, never open the internet, never lose wealth and glory.” Another blogger said (registration required), “This is like the video of an evil cult.”

The comments highlight a widening gulf between the party and the urban middle-class Chinese who make up the bulk of Weibo users. (In recent years, middle-class Chinese have been more likely to be critical of the government than less wealthy citizens.) Many Chinese argued that patriotism and loyalty to China are not the same as supporting the CCP. ”Not distinguishing between the country and the party and exaggerating so much, it’s disgusting,” one said. Another wrote, “Who else is the same as me? I love China but not the CCP. Others can curse CCP and I will even applaud. But I won’t allow anyone to curse China.”