« previous post | next post »

The Chinese government has grown mildly addicted to the use of rap for disseminating propaganda.  I'm going to call this new variety "rapaganda", but I am not the first to do so.  The use of this portmanteau word might have started here:

"Chinese Communist Party Modernizes its Message — With Rap-aganda" (China Real Time Report, WSJ, 12/29/15)

WSJ's China Real Time Report just used it again:

"Video: China’s New ‘Rap-aganda’ Tells You What President Xi Cares About " (3/10/17)

The video is also available here.

And here it is on YouTube:

The 1:39 video begins with the repetition of

Wǒmen xūyào gǎibiàn 我们需要改变 ("We need to change"), followed by the iteration of liù jiàn xiǎoshì 六件小事 ("six small issues").

So what are these "six small issues" that the Core Leader (Xi Jinping) is watching?

1. Using clean energy for heating
2. Waste sorting
3. Lifestock waste treatment
4. Food safety
5. Improving the quality of elderly care
6. Housing

I'd bet that Jay Z, Kanye West, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, and many other leading rap stars would love to tackle such challenging themes for their next hits.

For a bit of English language "popaganda" (I'm not the first person to use that portmanteau either [619,000 ghits]) from the notorious CCP PR firm known as the Fuxing Road Studio, check out "The mysteries of 13.5 " (19/27/15).

[h.t. Ben Zimmer]


  1. Vance Maverick said,

    March 11, 2017 @ 11:01 pm

    Tupac and Biggie are being recognized more and more.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    March 11, 2017 @ 11:41 pm

    Right, both of them died in the 90s.

  3. Alastair said,

    March 12, 2017 @ 5:29 am

    On a related note, does anyone know what happened to FAC-D12, the member of the rap group Purple Soul (龙胆紫)? It was reported he was arrested in 2015, presumably for stepping outside the boundaries of allowed political themes – http://popupchinese.com/lessons/sinica/hip-hop-in-china

  4. Dick Margulis said,

    March 12, 2017 @ 7:44 am

    Hmm. Maybe better as rap-agenda.

  5. Vulcan With a Mullet said,

    March 13, 2017 @ 11:08 am

    I guess this is opposed to their usual form of propaganda which we might call "Pandaganda"?

    I apologize profusely.

  6. Chips Mackinolty said,

    March 16, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

    I still can't comprehend, other than for a cheap headline, why the WSJ refers to the music as "rap". It bears no resemblance to rap music–more bubble gum popaganda, if anything

  7. Chas Belov said,

    March 18, 2017 @ 11:09 pm

    This might be a good time to remind folks of the availability of the 2008 documentary series Hip Hop in China on YouTube, including a pair of videos on the choice by rappers to use Mandarin or their topolect (part 1) (part 2).

RSS feed for comments on this post