Want to be president? Cartoon featuring Xi shows how

Updated: 2013-10-17 23:57

By XU WEI (China Daily)

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An online cartoon video that explains how to become a leader in China has gone viral, and experts believe its success and popularity could encourage the government to think of new ways to communicate with the public.

The cartoon video, titled How Top Leaders Were Made, is available in both Chinese and English and was uploaded to video sharing website Youku.com on Monday. The five-and-a-half minute cartoon has since attracted more than 1.2 million views and generated more than 600 comments.

Using the headshots of President Xi Jinping, US President Barack Obama and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and superimposing them over cartoon bodies, the video explains how the three nations select their top leaders.

It describes how Xi rose from a county official to the leader of the world's second-largest economy.

"He experienced 16 major job transfers and governed an accumulative population of over 150 million over 40 plus years," the video said.

The cartoon video goes on to depict the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Party's top leadership body, and explains that they, too, traveled along a similar journey as Xi.

"All the places where the seven members have served added up to half of the country's territory. ... More important, (they) participated in the deliberation and formulation of many major policies and strategies. That is why over several decades through several leadership transitions, China has managed to keep its policies generally consistent," it said.

The producer of the video only identifies itself as Fuxing Lushang Studio. Efforts to contact the producers were unsuccessful on Thursday.

It is the first time that a cartoon video of one of China's top political leaders has gone viral on the Internet, and experts are hailing the success of the video as a model for future disclosures of information by the government.

"The success of the video indicated that the government could do much better in communicating with the general public," said Cheng Manli, deputy dean of School of Journalism and Communication of Peking University.

Cheng added that publicity efforts by the government should keep up with the Internet and social media specifically.

Zhu Lijia, a public administration professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, believes the success of the cartoon video lies in personalizing the stories of government leaders.

"A depiction of top leaders through the use of cartoons could further enable them to have much closer contact with the public," he said.

"Compared with serious political lessons, an animation would certainly better appeal to the public. It gives people a more clear sense of how they rose through the ranks step by step. People might think that (Xi) is just one of us," he added.

Many netizens seemed to enjoy the video. It has received 11,000 likes on Youku.

A netizen under the name SINIG, however, had a fairly stoic view of it.

"The content of the video does not matter. The key is that it allows society to put the top leaders into a cartoon video show and let everybody watch," the netizen said.