Chinese State Media Publish Sesame Street-Style ‘One Belt, One Road’ Propaganda Video

With the big Beijing ‘One Belt, One Road’ Summit nearing, Chinese state media have sent out a “Sesame Street”-style propaganda video on Weibo, in which singing children praise the Belt and Road initiative. Many netizens think the video is “awkward.”

Chinese state media spread a promo video on Wednesday in which a group of children happily praise China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative in English, subtitled in Chinese. The clip comes days before the Beijing One Belt, One Road Summit (May 14-15), which will welcome leaders from around the world.


The Belt and Road Song by Fuxing Road Studios posted by whatsonweibo

In the video, fifteen different children sing and dance to a Sesame Street-style song with cartoon graphics of various countries. According to the opening line, the children come from different countries along the Belt Road, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt.

The title of the song is “The Road and Belt is How.” As noted by Sixth Tone, the word ‘how’ here alludes to the word ‘hao 好’, meaning ‘good’ in Chinese.

Mixed with laughter, the children sing:

The belt connects the land
The road moves on the sea
The promise that they hold
Is joint prosperity

We’re breaking barriers
We’re making history
The world we’re dreaming of starts with you and me

The future’s coming now, oh oh oh oh
The Belt and Road is how
We’ll share the goodness now
The Belt and Road is how

Officially announced by the Chines government in 2013, the Belt and Road is an economic initiative focused on connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia, meant to integrate the development strategies of dozens of countries.

The political video was made by Fuxing Road Studios (复兴路工作室), a company that often produces English-language propaganda videos on China’s policies, apparently seeking to appeal to both Chinese and Western audiences.

Quartz magazine wrote in 2015 that with its native English singers and slick productions, Fuxing Road Studios has covered numerous major China-related events, including state leaders’ overseas visits.

In 2015, Fuxing Road made headlines when it launched a curious video about the 13th Five-Year Plan in which American singers paid tribute to China’s latest policies (“Every five years in China, man / They make a new development plan (..) / It’s a huge deal, man! / Like how huge? / Huge!“).

The latest Belt and Road video was shared on Weibo by major state media outlets, including China Daily, People’s Daily, PLA Daily, Communist Youth League, China National Radio, and CCTV.

“What’s the purpose of this video? It’s awkward,” many Weibo commenters said. “It makes me feel like a kid again,” some write.

Many people commenting say they find the use of English in the video somewhat strange. “Why is it not in Chinese?,” a typical comment read: “I would have expected there to be at least a few sentences in Chinese.”

“The Road and Belt is How” is not the only ‘Belt and Road song.’ Another song was shared on social media today with a cartoon clip showing people of various countries dancing together. The video, issued by China News, has an English segment but is mainly sung in Chinese:

Try to try to try to find good friends along the Silk Road / Saluting and shaking hands / We can be good friends / The Belt and Road oh oh / Over land over sea oh oh / It’s three years old oh oh / It joins the world oh oh.”


China News: “The Belt and Road Song” posted by whatsonweibo

Although the second video also received some criticism, it seemed to be appreciated more by Chinese netizens than the Fuxing Road’s children’s song.

– By Manya Koetse

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Author

About the author: Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 comments

Look at their faces … like a group of kittens following a swinging ball.

Does Fuxing Road Studios actually get paid for all the awkward stuff they release? Couldn’t the budget be used for something more useful … like … making the food chain safer?

I’d say it’s more damaging to China’s image than supportive.

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