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China’s Communist Party Turns Five Year Plan Into Toe-Tapping English Music Video

"The Shisan what?" "The Shisan-ooo!"

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We’ve seen a number of slick Chinese propaganda videos before, but we’ve never seen this: an animated music video, in English, that promotes China’s upcoming thirteenth five-year plan. Made with Terry Gilliam-style animated collages and accompanied by sing-a-long acoustic pop, the video introduces the idea of the next five-year plan, without going into specifics.

The off-kilter juxtaposition of Eastern and Western elements (such as Albert Einstein’s face and Chinese political leaders when speaking about who is behind the creation of the five-year plan) may come off as strange, but the most jarring element is that it keeps referring to the “thirteenth five-year plan” as “十三五”, the Chinese words for 13/5. Even though a Western audience may not be familiar with Chinese, the video is uncompromising in having its audience only refer to it only in this language.

For example, here are the subtitles to the chorus (十三五 pronounced as “shi san ooo”):

If you wanna know what China’s gonna do,
Best pay attention to the 十三五!
The 十三五!The 十三五!
The 十三五what? The 十三五!

And if you’re not humming along with the lyric by the end (“The shisan what?”), the video is not subtle in repeating the visual motif of “13/5”:

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The company that produced this video, Revival Road Workshop, are the same people responsible for a “Chinese Dream” propaganda video as well as one in which South Carolina residents are seen pleading with China to let them keep their jobs.

Here’s the video:

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor