“Little Rabbit, Be Good” A Subversive New Years’ Video Card

An animated homage to the incoming Year of the Rabbit is circulating in Chinese cyberspace. The subversive video makes reference to numerous recent news events, and ends with an armed rebellion by the rabbits (ie the beleaguered Chinese people) against the Tigers (ie the government):

ChinaGeeks has done a great service by translating and interpreting the images in the video. From China Geeks:

Regardless of what the disclaimer says, it is probably obvious even to those who don’t speak Chinese that this video makes repeated and explicit reference to real life events. The milk powder death, the fire, the illegal demolitions, the beating of protesters, the self-immolation, the “Tiger Gang” car accident, etc. are all references to real-life events that any Chinese viewer would be immediately and intimately familiar with.

Of course, sarcastic animations and other web jokes about these incidents are common. What is not common is the end of the video, which depicts a rabbit rebellion where masses of rabbits storm the castle of the tigers and eat them alive. For viewers who have already gathered that in this picture, rabbits represent ordinary Chinese people and the tigers represent the government/the powerful, this is a revolutionary–literally–statement. The clip ends with what seems almost like a call to arms for the new year, with Kuang Kuang saying it will be a meaningful (有意义, could also be translated as “important”) year and then the end title reading: “The year of the rabbit has come. Even rabbits bite when they’re pushed.”

The Wall Street Journal compares this video with a 17-minute long promotional piece produced by the State Council Information Office:

The 17-minute-long promo piece was ordered up by the State Council Information Office as part of a marketing push prepared to boost China’s image abroad. Created by the same ad agency behind the now-famous Times Square “Experience China” ad, he follow-up has more depth (and got better reviews from Chinese Internet users) than 60-second collection of celebrity shots on display in New York, and features interviews with happy Chinese citizens, footage of contemporary art galleries, children picking up litter, foreigners learning traditional Chinese dance, and a white-bearded elderly man using an iPad. It also touts China’s dabbling in democracy with villagers holding ballots for local elections.

“It made my blood tingle!” wrote one user on microblogging service Sina Weibo. “To be honest, I am proud of it! Step up, China!” Still, some dismissed the message as propaganda. “After watching the video, I am quite depressed!” another user wrote, questioning some of the statements made in the video. “When did China become the world’s most confident country? We are the masters of the nation? Why I don’t feel anything like that? Democracy? Definitely NOT…”