The verdict is in. Yesterday, an international tribunal in the Hague sided with the Philippines, ruling that China cannot lay claim to most of the South China Sea. As expected, Chinese President Xi Jinping is dismissing the decision out of hand, stating that China has no intentions of complying.
How can the most populous nation on earth ignore the Permanent Court of Arbitration? That’s easy. It’s because China is taking its case to another court . . . the court of public opinion. And what better way to sway the jury than through viral videos (or at least videos that they’d like to go viral)?
Exhibit A: In June, China released the video below to win hearts and minds around the globe. It’s title is the rhetorical question “Who Is Stirring Up Trouble in the South China Sea?” My favorite lines are
Do you want to buy the most fashionable clothes or electronic devices with the state-of-the-art technology? You’d better pray for the peace and safety of the ocean.
And then there are these words from the mouth of Uncle Sam:
From the next two videos, we can see that the apparent target demographic is young, hip, cool, and English speaking . . . kind of like you and me. And the spokespeople are international students in Beijing and a cartoon band that looks like a modern version of the gang from Scooby Doo singing on top of the Mystery Machine.
I can laugh, but then again, they got me to watch a video about China’s five-year economic plan!
[photo: “Courtroom One Gavel,” by Joe Gratz, public domain]