An­i­mated pa­tri­o­tism

Young Chi­nese show their love for their moth­er­land on a pop­u­lar video-shar­ing plat­form that shoots com­ments across the screen

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE -

Sunny, a 25-year-old grad­u­ate stu­dent, is an ac­tive user on bili­bili.com, a Chi­nese video-shar­ing plat­form. How­ever, do not as­sume that her fa­vorite ac­count is some “fresh meat” or a trendy show. The ac­count she loves the most is the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the China Com­mu­nist Youth League (CCYL).

“I love their style, which pro­motes pa­tri­o­tism and the

so­cial­ist core val­ues in a lively and light-hearted way, as well as peo­ple and their ac­tions that de­liver pos­i­tive en­ergy,” Sunny, who ma­jors in pol­i­tics stud­ies in Lanzhou, Gansu Prov­ince, told the Blog Weekly mag­a­zine.

Sunny is among the new gen­er­a­tion of pa­tri­ots, whom peo­ple can find on web­sites like bili­bili.com.

In ad­di­tion to films, TV dra­mas, record­ings of peo­ple play­ing games and other en­ter­tain­ment, peo­ple can also find many videos with top­ics in­clud­ing pa­tri­o­tism, mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ment and other China-re­lated is­sues, all of which have be­come very pop­u­lar. For in­stance, there are TV dra­mas that are about the War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1931-45), doc­u­men­taries about Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing and Chi­nese an­i­ma­tion. All of these videos have been the fron­tier for young Chi­nese to ex­press their pa­tri­otic sen­ti­ment and res­onate with each other.

Pa­tri­ots and danmu com­ments

Among them, Sunny par­tic­u­larly re­mem­bers a remix video of Chi­nese mil­i­tary pa­rades and demon­stra­tions, which made her feel “ex­tremely ex­cited” and she sent a danmu com­ment to ex­press her­self.

On web­sites like bili­bili.com or ac­fun.com, peo­ple can send out danmu, or lit­er­ally “bul­let screen,” which refers to com­ments shot across the screen. The danmu com­ments, which stay on the screen and shoot across when peo­ple watch the show later, have be­come a method for peo­ple to share their point of view and emo­tions, among which is pa­tri­otic sen­ti­ment.

Via danmu com­ments, peo­ple share how they are proud to be a Chi­nese or how they are moved by China be­com­ing more pow­er­ful.

One of Sunny’s fa­vorite is The Chron­i­cle of the Rab­bit, an an­i­ma­tion about China’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, with the rab­bit rep­re­sent­ing China.

“I cried a river over the episode about China dur­ing the Korean War (1950-53). Although it was only eight min­utes long, it was so mov­ing,” she said.

The an­i­ma­tion, played more than 300 mil­lion times on the site, has in­spired many young peo­ple and also in­spired Sunny to be­come a firm pa­triot.

“I cried over every sin­gle episode,” some­body com­mented via danmu.

Sunny thinks the most mean­ing­ful part about the an­i­ma­tion is that it helps her learn his­tory. “There’s a lot in our his­tory that is worth ex­plor­ing, but many peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self, know lit­tle about it.”

Sunny at­tributes her pa­tri­otic world­view to mul­ti­ple fac­tors, such as ma­jor­ing in pol­i­tics, other doc­u­men­taries in­clud­ing one about for­mer premier Zhou En­lai and the posts from the Sina Weibo of the Global Times as well as CCYL.

“My ma­jor al­lows me to un­der­stand our coun­try’s poli­cies, and the an­i­ma­tion and doc­u­men­taries make me bet­ter un­der­stand and iden­tify with my coun­try,” she said.

The ‘wu­mao party’?

Zhang Ying (pseu­do­nym), a post-1990s viewer on the web­site, who was in Ja­pan pre­par­ing for grad­u­ate school en­trance ex­ams in Novem­ber 2016, watched the newly re­leased third sea­son of The Chron­i­cle of the Rab­bit and watched the last two sea­sons again be­cause he was miss­ing home.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the rea­son the an­i­ma­tion has been a huge suc­cess is that young peo­ple see it as a chan­nel to ex­press their pa­tri­otic sen­ti­ment.

One of the episodes that Zhang likes the most is about the rab­bit par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mil­i­tary ex­hi­bi­tion where the rab­bit’s weapons are well made, sold at a low price and ver­sa­tile, which sell bet­ter than the weapons made by the ea­gle (the US).

Zhang notes that whether or not young peo­ple are be­ing pa­tri­otic is rel­e­vant to the coun­try’s mil­i­tary strength. He has friends who used to be pro-Amer­ica be­cause of its strong mil­i­tary power that have now be­come “wu­mao” (gov­ern­ment “stooges”).

“I don’t care if I’m called a wu­mao or a zi­ganwu (self-mo­ti­vated In­ter­net com­menter who de­fends the gov­ern­ment). I just love this coun­try so much,” said Lin Chao, the au­thor of The Chron­i­cle of the Rab­bit.

The last time Lin shed tears rs in pub­lic was at the 11th China In­ter­na­tional na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aerospace Ex­hi­bi­tion in Zhuhai, Guang­dong gdong Prov­ince in Novem­ber 2016. It was the fi­first first time that the do­mes­tic-built J-20 stealth fi­fighter fighter made its pub­licublic de­but.

Lin teared up when a J-2020 flflew flew over his head.d. In the mo­ment, he for­gotr­got about the fact that hee was on live stream. The sen­ti­men­tal nti­men­tal mo­ment was cap­tured ured on his phone cam­era andnd si­mul­ta­ne­ously sent to the au­di­ence’s phones or com­puter r screens. Peo­ple also sent in mil­lions of danmu com­ments.

Among them, m, Zhang said the ex­hi­bi­tion wasas “a slap in the face” for those who ho used to say that China was in­ca­pable ca­pa­ble of mak­ing their own J-20s. .

A new gen­er­a­tion

In Septem­ber, Chenn Rui, CEO of the bili­bili web­site, made a pub­lic speech about the cul­tur­alal back­ground of China’s young gen­er­a­tion. ion.

“When man­ag­ing the web­site, one of the big­gest im­pres­sions that the young gen­er­a­tion has given me is that those post-1990s and post-2000s 00s young Chi­nese are very pa­tri­otic,” he said.

Com­par­a­tively speak­ing, youngng peo­ple e ac­tive on the web­site are emo­tional. nal. One sen­ti­men­tal line, or one frame of the pic- ture, might hit them in the soft spot. ot.

Gao Han­ning, a PhD stu­dent in Chi­nese lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at Pek­ing ek­ing Univer­sity, said the young gen­er­a­tion of pa­tri­ots is dif­fer­ent from the older one. The young peo­ple are largely into ACG (an­i­ma­tion, comic and games) works, and treat the coun­try like their “idol.”

It is a re­sult of the cul­ture of the com­mu­nity, he said. “Their so­cial life is not built on kin­ship, ge­o­graph­i­cal re­la­tion­ship or be­tween class­mates any­more. In­stead, it’s on their hob­bies.”

Gao con­sid­ers 2008 the turn­ing point when many young peo­ple be­come firm pa­tri­ots and na­tion­al­ists.

It was in 2008 that win­ter storms hit many parts of South­ern China in Jan­uary, ri­ots broke out in Lhasa in March, ad­vo­cates of Ti­betan in­de­pen­dence over­seas in April dis­rupted the Bei­jing Olympic torch re­lay, and an earth­quake devastated Wenchuan in Sichuan Prov­ince in May.

What hap­pened that year strength­ened some young peo­ple’s aware­ness of pa­tri­o­tism, Gao said, and a large num­ber of post-1980s and post-1990s Chi­nese joined the tide of pa­tri­o­tism and na­tion­al­ism that year.

Ra­tio­nal pa­tri­o­tism

Ac­cord­ing to Chen, this new gen­er­a­tion of pa­tri­otic Chi­nese has many things in com­mon.

“They lived a good life, they are well ed­u­cated and sin­cerely think they live in a good coun­try and love our coun­try dearly,” he said.

How­ever, Chen added, even within the com­mu­nity, how they com­pre­hend and ex­press their pa­tri­o­tism varies from one per­son to an­other.

Some are more con­ser­va­tive and re­strained than oth­ers. Among them is Atang, a 23-year-old teacher. She loves watch­ing doc­u­men­taries that “pro­mote na­tional pres­tige,” such as those about China’s man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, and the ma­jor con­struc­tion projects such as bridges and the rail­way sys­tem.

“I don’t think be­ing pa­tri­otic means say­ing slo­gans, or writ­ing ar­ti­cles ad­mir­ing the coun­try. In­stead, it’s about the tears that well up when see­ing the na­tional flag, the unity of the peo­ple in face of dis­as­ters, and a sim­ple ‘it’s so great to be Chi­nese’ af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ev­ery­thing,” she said.

Dur­ing the mil­i­tary pa­rade on Septem­ber 3, 2015,

Atang “criedried the en­tire re tim time she was br browser­ing the Sina Weibo posts of that day.”

I In ad­di­tion,ddi i lik like many other young peo­ple in China, Atang is a fan of South Korean idol bands such as Girls’ Gen­er­a­tion and EXO, but she said, “Na­tional in­ter­ests come be­fore idols.”

How­ever, her par­tic­i­pa­tion only in­volves post­ing com­ments on­line. She re­fuses to par­tic­i­pate in any pa­tri­otic ac­tiv­i­ties in real life, be­cause she says they could eas­ily turn nasty.

She still re­mem­bers the protests and boy­cotting

again­sta­gai for­eign prod­ucts and brands, in­clud­ing KFC and Philip­pine bananas, af­ter an ar­bi­tra­tion tri­bunal ruled against China’s mar­itime claims in the South China Sea in a case filed by the Philip­pines. She con­sid­ers waiv­ing ban­ners on the street against KFC to be “ir­ra­tional“ir­ra­tional pa­tri­o­tism.” “Although they boy­cotted for­eign brands, [they hurt] those Chi­nese work­ing there,” she said. Sunny also sees her­self as a ra­tio­nal pa­triot, never over­do­ingd i thing­shi or goingi ex­treme, andd thinkshi k thath she should “do her own job, and never med­dle with things and cause trou­ble for the coun­try and the so­ci­ety.” She has not par­tic­i­pated in any spe­cific ac­tiv­ity other than writ­ing com­ments and be­ing an on­looker on­line, but it does not mean she lacks the en­thu­si­asm. “I am happy to do any­thing if the coun­try needs it,” she said.

Photo: Li Hao/GT

The Chron­i­cle of the Rab­bit, an an­i­ma­tion about China’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions with the rab­bit rep­re­sent­ing China, has in­spired many young Chi­nese to ex­presse their love for the coun­try.coun­try

Pho­tos: IC

The pa­tri­ots born in the 1980s and 1990s closely fol­low films, doc­u­men­taries and an­i­ma­tion on­line that are re­lated to China’s grow­ing strength.

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