China’s new propaganda music video celebrates trustworthiness and the Social Credit System
China has made a music video promoting the importance of integrity and trustworthiness ahead of the scheduled national rollout of the controversial Social Credit System next year.
- Chinese netizens largely praised the message of the song and the high-profile celebrities
- The #IntegrityLightsUpChina promoting the song racked up 340 million views on Weibo
- Music videos have also been made about the Two Sessions, Belt and Road Initiative and Huawei
The system is designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by assigning scores to 1.4 billion citizens, in order to “award the trustworthy” and “punish the disobedient”.
The three-and-a-half minute song titled Live Up to Your Word, features several high-profile young Chinese celebrities urging viewers to “live every day carefully” and “be a trustworthy youth”.
The slogan #IntegrityLightsUpChina — which has been used to promote the song — has racked up 340 million views on Weibo and been mentioned in 2 million comments.
The Weibo hashtag page itself also carries a similar message.
“Youth should be trustworthy, creditability is valuable, every aspect of life contains the concept of integrity,” the description reads.
“Let’s give the thumbs up to integrity, and unite in building Credit China together.”
Credit China also happens to be the official name of the national SCS platform, while integrity is one of 12 core socialist values established by former Chinese president Hu Jintao in 2012.
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Although the lyrics don’t specifically mention the Social Credit System (SCS), actors and singers are seen demonstrating how to be a trustworthy citizen in a range of scenarios such as shopping at an unmanned store, renting a shared bike, reading at a public library, and finalising a business deal.
Observers were also quick to notice that all these scenarios are aspects and activities that have been monitored and incorporated into the looming national SCS over the past few years.
The SCS is not due to be fully operational nationwide until 2020, but local governments at provincial and city levels have already been rolling out a wide array of pilot projects.
Citizens deemed “untrustworthy” have so far been banned from boarding flights, riding high-speed trains and booking hotels among other restrictions on services.
After announcing the release of Live Up to Your Word on China Youth Daily’s official Weibo account last month, netizens have largely praised both the message of the song and the singers themselves.
“Try hard to be an honest Chinese person, don’t lose China’s face,” one user wrote on the Chinese social media platform.
Another said: “We need to practice the core values of socialism.”
This is not the first time China has made a song to promote a political initiative.
Propaganda videos for Congress, Belt and Road Initiative
Most recently, Chinese state media published a bizarre English-language rap song by Chinese performer Su Han to mark Beijing’s annual National Congress in March — commonly known as the Two Sessions.
The song, titled Two Sessions: To the World From China, celebrates the country’s development and scientific achievements and features lyrics such as “Micius is a quantum satellite breakthrough first-ever even in my mind”.
Micius, or Mozi, is the nickname for the satellite operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The state-backed music video was posted by Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency ahead of the conference and received a mixed reaction from Chinese netizens.
Earlier this year, state media also a shared a music video showing children singing praises about China’s telecoms giant Huawei which reportedly went viral on Chinese social media.
And in 2017, children were also featured in a propaganda music video about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the country’s ambitious trillion-dollar infrastructure project.
The song’s lyrics tout how the trade initiative is a “cultural exchange” that allows people to “trade in our wealth” and “connect with our hearts”.
The recent array of propaganda music videos mark a shift in tack by China’s propaganda machine, which has been trying to catch up with the times by investing in patriotic hip hop groups and anime programs.
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