China woos Hong Kong youth with rap ahead of handover anniversary

Young people in Hong Kong remain sceptical about ‘one country, two systems’ model

A decoration marking 20 years anniversary under China’s rule on display outside a shopping mall in Beijing. Photograph: AP Photo/Andy Wong

A decoration marking 20 years anniversary under China’s rule on display outside a shopping mall in Beijing. Photograph: AP Photo/Andy Wong


“Time for school,” the stern but beautiful teacher says as she urges her slovenly students to pay attention to today’s lesson: 20 years after the British colony reverted to Chinese rule, Hong Kong’s future is inextricably bound to the glorious path of socialism in mainland China.

As Hong Kong gears up for the arrival this week of Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his first state visit as president, the official state news agency Xinhua has released an animated music video to accompany the trip and extol the virtues of the “one country, two systems” model agreed by Britain and China.

China is waging a battle of hearts and minds to win over young people in Hong Kong to the idea of being run from Beijing.

Clunky Chinese propaganda doesn’t appear to go down too well in ultra-hip sophisticated Hong Kong, and the video is a mere distant cousin of Kendrick Lamar, using hip-hop tropes as a propaganda tool to encourage Hong Kong’s unruly residents to be more attentive to the triumphs of socialism.

July 1st marks 20 years since the handover from Britain to Hong Kong.

“With 1.3 billion people carving out socialism, Hong Kong maintains its former system and its way of life. As a special autonomous region, it has a high degree of autonomy,” it says.

Hip-hop videos

The video is the latest in a series of hip-hop videos to push Communist agendas to hit the internet.

One of the highest profile tunes to drop was a rap song about President Xi’s call for a more prosperous China and deeper reform, backed up by his “four comprehensives” political theory released last year.

Another little ditty by the Communist party mouthpiece People’s Daily was about promoting the “one belt, one road” political-economic strategy released last year.

There has even been a song by the Communist Youth League and a Chengdu rap group CD Rev, which accuses foreign media of biased reporting on China.

The video has a tough backbone aimed at the growing voices calling for more autonomy and even independence in Hong Kong, largely driven by young people and intensified by the Umbrella protests of late 2014, which saw large chunks of downtown occupied for 79 days.

“Pay attention: Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China,” the video says, in a harsh tone belying the jaunty background music.

“This is one country, united and whole under two systems. Only under China’s ‘two systems’, can the national flag of the People’s Republic of China appear alongside the flag of Hong Kong SAR.”

Hong Kong is in security lockdown ahead of Mr Xi’s visit to the territory to swear in the incoming chief executive Carrie Lam and mark 20 years since the change in power. There are rumours that the Chinese leader will stay in a less exclusive hotel that some of the delegation staying in the Wanchai district because of security concerns over an open roof.