Straight Outta Beijing: Xi slogan gets the hip-hop treatment

AFP-JIJI

China’s official news agency has released a cartoon featuring an animated bald man with waistcoat tucked into his trousers disco-dancing and rapping President Xi Jinping’s signature “Four Comprehensives” ideological slogan.

The catchphrase, premiered by Xi in 2014 and since plastered across newspapers, banners and TV programs, is typical of the Chinese Communist Party’s predisposition toward numerical but nebulous buzzwords, such as Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents.”

The Chinese-language Xinhua video, which features tooting MIDI horns, a flying saucer and a giant fruit-filled wheelbarrow, begins with a countdown. The ruddy-nosed portly man, along with a giant-headed cartoon girl, repeatedly chant: “Say it with me, the four comprehensives, the four comprehensives.”

Interspersed are the lines “Moderate prosperity is the goal,” “Reform is the driving force,” “The rule of law is guaranteed” and “Building the Party is the key.”

The video, which lasts for more than three minutes, is packed with hallucinogenic imagery: a baby monkey swings from a crane, a silver Rubik’s cube floats in front of an undulating bull’s-eye, and the figure 666666666 drifts across the screen without explanation.

It is the latest in a series of propaganda efforts that use catchy tunes to promote Communist Party ideology.

In December, state television released a rap number featuring a tinny beat and clip-art mountains whose lyrics praised the “Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms.”

Two months earlier, the country’s dry economic planning was given a chirpy theme song in a psychedelic animation that went viral.

It showed four cartoon characters travelling through a mint-green and fuchsia dreamscape atop lily pads, China’s Great Wall and a Volkswagen bus, singing in English about the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan.

Despite the use of themes from musical forms including disco, hip-hop and jazz in the videos, Mr Xi’s administration has sought to minimise or counteract the influence of what authorities deem to be Western values and culture on the country.

“If we treat the foreign with reverence, treat the foreign as beautiful, only follow the foreign,” Mr Xi said in a speech in October, “there is absolutely no future!”

The cartoon released earlier this week ends with an ensemble including a construction worker, police officer, nurse and farmer all singing the “Four Comprehensives” chorus to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”