BEIJING, May 19 — Sporting baseball caps, baggy pants and sneakers, a crew of young Chinese men strut down a long empty hallway toward an old-school television set bearing the words “NO THAAD” in bright red lettering.
So opens the latest in a string of propaganda videos attempting to meld popular culture with China’s political message of the moment.
THAAD — or Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence — refers to the US missile defence system deployed in South Korea to counter threats from the North, but which China fears will undermine its own military capabilities.
“I feel nauseous when I think of THAAD,” 23-year-old Wang Zixin (“Chuckie”), leader of CD REV, the Sichuan-based rap group behind the video, told AFP.
“It’s just like if someone installed a camera on your doorstep — you would feel annoyed and uneasy.”
Released last week on a state-run web portal, the clip came ahead of South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan’s visit to Beijing this week.
“I meant that it seems like you never wanna be friendly to me, but some 21st century colonies, some puppet committing felonies,” the stars of the NO THAAD” video rap in a mix of English and Chinese.
“I don’t wanna see South Korea with this attitude... Why not choose us rather than Uncle Sam?”
Wang told AFP that while rap cannot change South Korea’s stance on THAAD, such songs can “let Koreans know that China’s young people are passionate and tough”.
CD REV is no stranger to propaganda rap: the group’s patriotic This is China video last summer denounced foreign media over a montage of assembly lines, historic sites and bustling street scenes.
Similar efforts surfaced around the Belt and Road summit earlier this week, an international gathering on a massive Chinese-led global trade infrastructure project which the government hyped up with a “bedtime story” series and not one, but two raps.
Tensions between South Korea and China over THAAD have ballooned into economic boycotts, with Chinese tour groups quietly halting visits to the South and supermarkets under the Lotte brand — the company that penned the THAAD land deal — losing business in China. — AFP