A slick new propaganda video, released just in time for China’s president Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK, promises that the UK and China are “closer than you think” thanks to school kids, football, and black cabs.
Called “Britain meets China,” the video was released Oct. 16 on YouTube and its Chinese equivalent Youku. As of this afternoon (Oct. 19) in Hong Kong, about 60,000 people had watched it on YouTube and 470,000 on Youku.
With quotes from ordinary people on both sides, the five-minute long video explains the two countries are closely tied by education, football, and China’s investment in the UK.
The first “chapter,” of the video highlights a partner program between the UK’s Dane Royd School in West Yorkshire and Longjiang Road Primary School in southwest China’s Chengdu city. Young kids at Dane Royd have picked up Chinese calligraphy, umbrella dancing, and Mandarin from a visiting Chinese teacher from Longjiang, who adds she’s surprised British kids aren’t more “naughty.” In return, the Chinese kids in Chengdu are sent cricket bats, though cricket is not a popular sports in China at all. ”I like cricket, but I like London’s weather more,” Xian Bowen, a student at the Chinese primary school, says in what may be a joke.
The UK and China’s real “shared passion” is football, the video claims. Two Chinese students who play in University of London’s Chinese football team think Xi Jinping, “a big football fan,” will be the savior for China’s disappointing national team, who made its only World Cup appearance in 2002.
The last chapter is devoted to Chinese auto maker Geely, who bought the London Taxi Company when it went bankrupt in 2013. Geely, also the owner of Volvo, helped to bring London’s iconic black cabs back on the streets, CEO Peter Johansen says. He thinks the acquisition was “one of the best things that could have happened to the company.”
“They look to us as being the wise old men because we have been building cars for 100 years,” Johansen said of the company’s Chinese owners. “We look to them for innovation,” he says.
The video is produced by Fuxing Road, the same studio who released a slick video of ordinary Americans explaining how great it is to work for a Chinese boss ahead of Xi’s state visit to the US at the end of September.
A spokeswoman at Fuxing Road, a name that can be translated from Chinese as “the road to rejuvenation,” told Quartz earlier the studio is privately funded and has no connection with the government, but refused to give more details. Official or not, the mysterious production team has become a loyal voice for China’s ruling Communist Party whenever it needs advertising.