I developed a sentiment of rebellion against the propaganda at a very early age, not because I was a genius who realized the nature of the CCP’s dictatorship as a fourth-grade pupil, but just because those “political missions” we have to fulfill being “successor of the great communist revolution” – members of The Communist Young Pioneers – like learning the speeches and works of the leaders, as well as organizing events in commemoration of import events in the Party’s history, had occupied too much of our time, which should have been dedicated to our friends or hobbies. They were usually super dull, very few people were happy to participate, and I believe still, most people do not really understand the tainted “newspeak” they are using despite the fact that they still perceive that bullshit as the foundation of their worldview.
The crisis of losing support from the younger generations is putting pressure on Beijing’s megaphone. Of course, they know the consequence if our generations were raised by Naruto, Rick and Morty, or Drake and Eminem instead of the inspiring stories of the revolutionary martyrs – they want to be “COOL.” Therefore since 2015 (roughly), the government has started trying to tell its “glorious “history in more creative ways. They embed the ideology and the “communist” and nationalist narrative in artworks like short videos and pop music.
I think there won’t be many people who can intuitively associate Hip-hop with communism, at least the “Chinese version,” but the Chengdu based Hip-hop artist group – CD REV has indeed brought me to the brand new world of “Commie rap” – the term we use for categorizing their works: rap songs that worship the party-state system and its ideologies.
The music video above was posted by an official account and became a phenomenon at the time when Hong Kong citizens were protesting for CCP’s unfulfilled commitment to grant the city a full-fledged democratic electoral system and the famous “Extradition Bill” in 2019. I find their works interesting to me because they perform hip-hop music while conveying the ideas that hip-hop is against the most; the alleged people being docile subjects of authoritarianism and standing at the opposite of freedom and democracy.
Some of my friends perceive the artists as political opportunists, but personally, I may not 100% agree with them. As I learned from their interviews and their works, I can see their pure and precious sincerity, which motivated them to start their musical career; they really wanted to use hip-hop to show their rebellion against the unjust global order that has lasted for the past centuries in which China has always been a victim of being exploited by the West. This kind of victim’s narrative is one of the pillars of our educational system, and it has been even more prevailing on the internet due to the information cocoon built by diminishing tolerance to different political views, maturing censorship technologies, as well as escalating xenophobic sentiment since Xi’s “coronation” in 2012.
This reminds me of my father. I still remember my parents’ reaction when I told them that I was dating a girl who was not Chinese. My mom was super happy; she told me that although she really wanted me to have a partner with at least some Chinese background, she was still super glad that I shared such a beautiful thing with them and gave me her best wishes.
But my dad’s reaction was totally out of my expectation. He really loves me, and I love him too, but he is just that stereotypical Asian parent who barely knows how to express their love to the children. Instead of lovely wishes, what he left me was more like sincere advice, among which he underlined the most “Put China’s national security into the first place and prevent spies from hostile countries from obtaining China’s state secrets through sexual seduction.”
Sounds like a joke, right? But I swear he was serious! I did feel bad for a moment because one of the people who love me the most in this world subconsciously took my dating partner as a potential spy who wanted to steal some secret of the great Chinese nation from me – his son, as well as an economically poor student who will even hesitate to buy a set of Uno card game at the toy store. But honestly speaking, I have never been mad at him for this because I know he has been shaped like this by the education he received, and he has never managed to know how to use VPN to browse those contents blocked by the government.
I have always seen the dissemination of such so-called artworks that glorify dictators as a dangerous and frightening thing, but when I think of the people around me who hold views I disagree with but who are indeed very kind and loving in their lives, it is hard for me to be angry with the people who create these absurd things. I believe their emotions are simple and innocent (perhaps not humane enough), but you never know what the worrying consequences will be when the evil Leviathan amplifies these simple malevolences to the maximum through social media.
All I hope now is that those who have heard the songs enjoy the artists’ excellent performances and forget exactly what they are singing about.
 Meet China’s patriotic rap group CD Rev