As Chinese President Xi Jinping's inaugural state visit to the U.S. got underway Wednesday, Chinese authorities released a bizarre propaganda video featuring a host of foreign students in the country heaping praise on the leader, calling him “supercharismatic,” “wise and resolute,” and even "cute."
The video, titled “Who is Xi Dada?” was produced by China's People's Daily newspaper, a state-run publication widely viewed as a mouthpiece for the ruling Communist Party. It first appeared on YouTube, which is blocked in China, but was subsequently posted on the paper's website.
“Xi Dada,” the video explains, is an affectionate nickname bestowed on the president by Chinese citizens. The video shows students who identify themselves as hailing from nations including the U.S., Germany, Cameroon, France, Japan and Argentina, among others. In it, they praise Xi's foreign policy, laud his “strong international reputation” and discuss how honored they would be to meet him.
One young American says he has a copy of Xi's book on the governance of China and that he would very much like to read it. Another recalls Xi visiting her school, where she says she read him a poem.
Like other Chinese propaganda efforts in which foreigners give supposedly unscripted support for the ruling party, the film feels a little strange and has a “Stepford Wives”-esque quality to it.
The video is not the first time in recent weeks that Chinese state media have published propaganda featuring Westerners fawning over the country's government. Following a huge military parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War II, the People's Daily published an article on the front page of its website entitled “US blogger: The parade shows President Xi is a true world class leader.” In the piece, the author, one Michael Murphy, angrily questions the decision of U.S. leaders not to attend the event, which saw huge numbers of troops, tanks and missiles paraded through the Chinese capital. He says they “missed out on something that was intended to promote world peace.”
If today's video has whetted your appetite for more Chinese propaganda, another example, complete with a soundtrack that evokes “America's Funniest Home Videos,” can be found below.