Propaganda 2.0: The Chinese Communist Party's message moves up a gear

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In a bright red office in South Beijing, some of the most studious members of the Chinese Communist Party are gathered around their smartphones.

Their attention is focused on a set of mobile apps and websites that allow them to study the speeches of Chinese President Xi Jinping, including the one developed by their own employer, the Beijing-based conglomerate, Tidal Star Group. .

Tidal Star is part of a growing number of Chinese companies working for the ruling or inspiring Communist Party of it to develop high-tech propaganda tools intended to spread the party's message among a young generation fond of technology.

The party's mass propaganda toolbox has been replaced by shrill posters and Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book" to include artificially intelligent news readers, viral campaigns on social media and mandatory quiz applications ".

"Of course, we study the spirit of Xi Jinping's speech in the traditional way, but now that we have the application, party members can learn the great ideas of national leaders every day," Cheng said. Hong, chairman of the Tidal Star party committee. .

Employees who do not respond well to application quizzes will be "encouraged to improve their enthusiasm", while high scores are rewarded with praise and rewards, Cheng said.

Much of the new technology has been deployed and upgraded in anticipation of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's largest political meeting, which began on Tuesday.

The annual parliamentary meeting usually sees a rise of propaganda in the Chinese state media.

"It's a massive revolution and, at the same time, a major challenge for the Propaganda Department, to keep relevance and have an issue, while all that is propaganda is now in cyberspace" said Graeme Smith, a member of the Pacific Affairs Department of the Australian National University.

Red Millenials

Last month, an application called "Xuexi Qiangguo", which records the time spent by users to learn the teachings of the Communist Party and the progress made in their study, has become the most downloaded application of the store. Apple applications in China.

The app, developed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has since registered some 75 million downloads, according to estimates from Beijing-based Qimai consultancy firm.

This is one of dozens of Chinese Communist Party applications available on Android application stores and on Apple's China App Store, including "Party Member eHome", "Wisely Build the Party" and " The little backpack of the party member ".

"Since 2016, one of the main advertising goals of the party is to make" millennia red, "said a Beijing-based official on a major application of Chinese news feeds listed in the United States. -United.

His company had collaborated with the Chinese Communist Party to promote stories written by the state media higher in the search results.

"The official information is always the main priority.There is no information before the official information," said the official, who refused to be named, because he did not have any information. was not allowed to talk to the media.

Sunday, the Xinhua State News Agency and the US research company Sogou Inc. also released the first official performance of a "former AI presenter", "Xin Xiaomeng", whose first job was to present an article about delegates assisting largely in China. Parliament meeting.

China will be even better at telling its story to the world through its "innovative application of the means of communication and technology," said Guo Weimin, spokesman for the parliament's largely parliamentary advisory body. "I believe our voice will spread further and further."

The propaganda department of the Communist Party did not respond to a request for comment.

& # 39; All hours of the day & # 39;

The change in the spread of party propaganda extends to other areas such as the media and popular culture.

State media Xinhua on Sunday released a patriotic rap song in English by Chinese musician Su Han.

This fast-paced song praises recent moon landings in China, powerful super-computers and its ability to clone monkeys, as well as sometimes clumsy references to kidney stones and the drawing character in English. Popeye.

Xinhua also broadcast videos of foreigners praising the Chinese political system, calling the AFN press conferences a "dream of a journalist" and exposing the benefits of a democracy to the Chinese, using pictures of Chinese star basketball Yao Ming.

Party members said the new propaganda campaign means political studies are taking longer than ever before.

Universities, provincial party units and companies have recently issued public notices inviting staff and officials to download Xuexi Qiangguo.

Three sources from different Party units said the results of the online studies were now included in their performance evaluations.

A staff member at a university in southern China told Reuters that he had to do at least 160 hours of official online study a year.

"It's not too boring, but the Party was part of my job," said a 35-year-old researcher, nicknamed Liu, at a Beijing university, who refused to give her full name because of the sensitivity of the subject.

"Now, this is part of my life at all hours of the day."