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‘Hey, you guys heard what’s going on in China?’ Beijing propaganda machine’s animated video promotes five-year plan

‘Hey, you guys heard what’s going on in China?’ Beijing propaganda machine’s animated video promotes five-year plan

Originally published at the South China Morning Post on October 27, 2015.

“Hey, have you guys heard what’s going on in China? President Xi Jinping’s new style? Yes and there’s more …”

China’s propaganda machine is trying a new tack this week to publicise its economic and social plans by using an animated hipster pop music video – complete with a guitar-strummed song performed in American accents by four cartoon characters as they stand on top of a retro Volkswagen van.

The aim of the video, produced by a mainland animation studio that often works on state propaganda, is to tell English-speaking foreigners about the nation’s latest five-year social and economic plan that is being discussed behind closed doors by the Communist Party this week.

Wanna know what China's gonna do? Best pay attention to the 十三五! See why it matters https://t.co/SgBls5S35A

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 27, 2015

“Every five years in China, man. They make a new development plan. The time has come for number 13, shi-san-wu [13-5], that’s what it means! ...

“Wanna know what China’s gonna do? Best pay attention to theshi-san-wu!”

The video features one of the four cartoon characters with a lightning bolt across his face, just like singer David Bowie's Aladdin Sane persona, plus a cameo appearance by scientist Albert Einstein.

It was promoted by state media on Xinhua News’s Twitter on Tuesday, but can also be found on major video websites, too.

In the past few days Chinese authorities have been busy trying to publicise the meeting, formally known as the fifth plenum of the Central Committee, by flooding local media with commentaries, infographics and analysis pieces for domestic consumption.

However, in keeping with China’s growing global stature – including Xi’s two recent state visits to the United States and Britain – the propaganda machine has chosen to highlighted its five-year plan for 2016-20 – a holdover from the Soviet-style centrally planned economy – to an international audience.

The plan provides a blueprint that sets out guidelines in key areas including tackling slowing economic growth, social reforms and the environment.

“It’s a huge deal,” the video and song continues. “Like how huge? Huge! Like China huge? Yeah, China huge. Wow, that’s really big!”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: The five-year plan is something to sing about

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