The Shisanwu Song: Viral Hit or Empty Vessel?  

  When the Chinese viral hit Little Apple was performed in the American Music Awards ceremony in November 2014, the cheesy-yet-catchy pop song by the Chopstick Brothers found a way to elbow into the global market. Now, China may have another hit viral video, but this time with a far more political message. The cartoon music video is themed around China’s latest 13th Five-Year Plan and was promoted by Xinhua News Agency to coincide with the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee which concluded in late October. The song soon picked up steam online, with reactions to the video mixed. Obviously, the song is easy to remember, and features American-accented singers, acoustic guitars, and a chorus that proclaims: “If you wanna know what China’s gonna do, best pay attention to the shísānwǔ (the Chinese name for the 13th Five-Year Plan).” It does create a craze in Chinese social media, Sina Weibo and WeChat in particular. But what did foreign netizens think of the song? On Twitter, the collective reaction was one of mirth and disbelief, with one commentator jokingly prescribing the video as therapy for depression while another astutely commenting that despite all the mockery, now hundreds if not thousands of Westerners are now informed as to what the 13th Five-Year Plan is and stands for. Or […]

Nov 3, 2015