字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント A famous Chinese YouTuber Showcases rural life in China Everyone loves it Especially the Chinese Communist Party Welcome to China Uncensored, I'm Chris Chappell. Modern China can be a chaotic place. Crowded streets. Traffic jams. Police blocking your camera. Thank Mao there's a way to relax! Retreat to the countryside. Enjoy the quiet life, the traditional life of a Chinese farmer, like back in the day... before Mao totally didn't starve farmers to death. And that brings us to YouTube star Li Ziqi. Li Ziqi's YouTube channel is all about daily life in rural China. She prepares meals and other tasks for her and her grandmother using only the nature that surrounds them. Her channel showcases homestyle farming and cooking. She uses homegrown ingredients to prepare dishes in traditional ways. Think farming documentary plus reality TV plus cooking show—all in a colorful, quiet lifestyle vlog. Some people have called Li Ziqi the Martha Stewart of the Chinese countryside. Although I don't think even Martha Stewart plants and picks her own cotton, so she can turn it into a handmade mattress. I mean, who doesn't love picking cotton! Except obviously half a million forced laborers in Xinjiang. At any rate, Li Ziqi's videos are beautifully shot and produced. And they're hugely popular around the world. She has more than 27 million followers on Weibo, China's version of Twitter. And she has nearly 15 million subscribers on YouTube, breaking the Guinness world record for most subscribed Chinese language channel. All of this is great. And I mean that for real. She makes great videos. But unfortunately, things are never so simple in communist China. Under China's authoritarian regime, it's not always easy when you get too much publicity. Make one wrong move, and you could be in deep trouble. Like in 2018 when a live streamer was sent to jail for singing China's national anthem in a goofy manner. To be fair, I like her version... “Bum bum bum, qi lai!” ...at least compared to the official version. Luckily for Li Ziqi, her content is focused on nature. Her only dialog is with her pets and her grandma. So she's probably safe from politically motivated censorship. In fact, Li Ziqi is more than just safe. Chinese state-run media actively support Li Ziqi's YouTube stardom. “Supporters argue that [Li] has done more to sell Chinese culture than the Confucius Institute, the government-backed soft power promotional organization with a presence in more than 100 countries.” Yes, Chinese state-run media absolutely love Li Ziqi. So much so, that Li was invited to be the Promotion Ambassador for China's Communist Youth League. And just in case that wasn't enough, People's Daily even co-branded with Li Ziqi to sell plum snail powder noodles to her fans in China. Yes. Plum Snail Powder Noodles. Yum. Of course, in many ways it's great that such a talented person gets good press and opportunities like this. But it does raise a few questions. Which I'll get into, after this quick commercial break. Welcome back. The Chinese Communist Party endorses Li Ziqi's YouTube channel. And that brings with it some issues. The most obvious one is: How is Li free to use YouTube, which is banned in China? The Chinese government hands out punishments to netizens who access YouTube through a VPN. Like that guy Lonely Fly—who we did a video about just last month. But Li Ziqi's YouTube channel somehow gets a free pass. Another issue is, she's allowed to promote this kind of traditional culture—the kind of culture Mao tried to wipe out. And she's doing it at a time when the Chinese Communist Party wants to promote its Skyscrapers...5G technology... and high speed trains. The Party has been trying to bury the memory of laborious farm work... and promote everything modern. But as it turns out, viewers around the world are actually much more captivated by Li Ziqi's vivid presentation of China's traditional farm life than they are by China's modern technology. The culture the Chinese Communist Party once tried desperately to destroy is now what's giving them the positive attention they crave. And that's why Chinese state-run media doesn't hesitate to approve Li Ziqi. Her videos can promote China's soft power and global influence. At the same time, her videos are in line with the Chinese Communist Party's new campaign of rural revitalization, as well as its ideas of “rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation. So Li Ziqi can keep her YouTube channel, because of her influence outside of China. Li Ziqi carries out the same agenda as Chinese state-run media, only better. It's almost as if her quiet traditional life snippets are a solution to China's lack of soft power. Soft power has been pretty high up on the Communist Party's priority list. Back in 2007, then-Chinese leader Hu Jintao said, “We must enhance culture as part of the soft power of our country.” And that “We will further publicize the fine traditions of Chinese culture and strengthen international cultural exchanges to enhance the influence of Chinese culture worldwide.” “According to Joseph Nye, who coined the term “soft power,” China suffers a soft power deficit for two main reasons – first, the promotion of nationalism, which propels an assertive approach to conflicts and antagonizes foreign audiences; and second, China's soft power does not derive from civil society but from government sources, which lack credibility. In other words, centralized government power isn't fun to watch. When they come out with rap groups who lay down tracks celebrating the Party's growing military... ...people watch that and think it's garbage. But people enjoy Li Ziqi's videos. The problem is that they don't represent the life of a real Chinese farmer. And they don't represent urban Chinese life either. It's all an escapist fantasy. Now, although she's on YouTube, Li Ziqi's content is mostly for a domestic Chinese audience that she reaches through Chinese social media platforms. And it's a burned-out urban audience that longs to escape to the countryside. They know it's a rural fantasy, but that's what they want. It's a nostalgia for a way of life that's gone. If all this sounds familiar, that's because there's a Western version of this rural escapism called cottagecore. I mean, I get it. That's basically why I play Stardew Valley. Well, that and my love for Abigail. But the difference is that Li Ziqi's escapist fantasy is also great for the Chinese Communist Party. Li's channel and comment section show the beautiful side of China, and it works in the Party's favor that this is on YouTube's platform. Not only do people outside China get to watch the wonders of China's traditional lifestyle, but also anyone in China who uses a VPN to access YouTube can feel proud of their nation when they see how well received Chinese culture is worldwide. It's like the Chinese saying, “Yi Shi Er Niao” 一石二鳥, which literally translates as, “One stone, two birds.” Why does every culture have a phrase about killing birds with stones? Who does that?! I guess that's also a way of life that's gone. Anyway, the Chinese Communist Party is having more and more trouble maintaining a good image around the world. Even before the 2020 CCP Virus outbreak, people in many countries have had increasingly negative views of China. So to fix this problem, the Chinese regime tries to blur the lines between Chinese culture and the Chinese Communist Party. This conveniently fogs up the perception of China as a whole. China is beautiful, China is peaceful! China is definitely not armed with a large military ready to invade its neighbors! Now, I'm not saying the Communist Party is directly pulling the strings on Li Ziqi like a puppet, and I'm not here to discredit her work. She and her production crew obviously put a lot of effort into these videos. But the reality is, Li Ziqi doesn't represent what life is like for most of China's 500 million farmers. Farmers who are mostly suffering under the CCP's authoritarian rule. And FYI, when the CCP claims poverty has been eliminated for them. That's simply not true. But life sure is good for Li Ziqi. And now it's time for me to answer a question from a viewer who supports China Uncensored on Patreon. Ahmad Shumayal asks: “Is OnePlus phone (BBK Group) also guilty of forced labour of Uyghyurs? Should we boycott OnePlus as well?” Good question, Ahamad. BBK Group is a Chinese conglomerate. And as a Chinese company—even a privately owned one—they have to do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military, if they're called upon. For example, if the CCP asks them to put spyware on their phones, they would have to figure out a way to do it. I'm not saying they do. But the US has accused Huawei of spying on mobile phone users... so it's a realistic possibility for BBK's OnePlus phones as well. Now I don't know whether or not BBK Group uses Uyghur slave labor. But security concerns alone should be enough to convince you to boycott its OnePlus phones. Thanks for your question, Ahamad. Be like Ahamad and support China Uncensored on Patreon. Go to Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored to learn more. Once again, I'm Chris Chappell. Thanks for watching China Uncensored.