CCTV Lauds Workers “Battling the Heat” For Xi Jinping’s Pet Project

A CCTV report posted to Bilibili celebrating construction workers laboring in extreme heat came under severe criticism online this week.  The report focused on workers in Xiong’an, Xi Jinping’s pet urban development project, who were “battling the heat to meet a construction deadline” amid a heatwave that spurred nearby Beijing to mandate that construction companies “stop outdoor operations.” The CCTV reporter documented roof-surface temperatures of 155.3 degrees Fahrenheit and noted that workers’ necks were breaking out in boils due to sun exposure. Instead of decrying these obviously dangerous labor conditions, the report closed—in classic propaganda fashion—with a rosy three-part conclusion lauding China’s rise, the People’s agency, and worker’s ostensible prosperity. The out-of-touch video led to a massive outcry on Bilibili, Weibo, and Twitter that reflected widespread disgust with CCTV’s evident lack of concern about work place safety

伪佳稻:Risking heatstroke to meet a construction deadline? Who forced them out there?

煎饼和牛奶:Is this how it should be? Sacrificing people’s well-being for the sake of a construction project?

Badioce:“Battling the heat to meet a construction deadline” is such a shameless boast.

年度大笨比:They’ve turned laboring under the blazing sun into propaganda.

无情森林人:You call this the “world’s fastest infrastructure construction”? It’s all based on the sweat of our workers and the rights they will never get to enjoy. 

南极娃娃鱼:Battling the heat to meet a construction deadline. China Speed! Thumbs up!

Clannad古河渚:Honestly, it’s like they’re speaking from another dimension.

吃吃汉堡1:It’s like a classic three-part essay. (1) An appropriate summary of China’s rise. (2) The people are the masters of the country. (3) Everything’s just peachy: everyone has their own skills and talents, their own car and home, and is working toward a goal. It’s all perfect. 

A number of netizens spammed the comment section with a copypasta to express their displeasure with CCTV:

“So, let me just test the temperature up here…” Like hell! It’s 104 degrees, these guys are still working, and you’ve got the nerve to post a video like this? [Chinese]

July 3, 2023 was the hottest day in recorded history, with average global temperature topping 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time ever. The record stood for one day. China is no exception. Beijing is seeing one of the hottest summers on record with deadly results. A tour guide died of heatstroke in the Summer Palace and an emergency hotline set up to manage heat-related health crises has seen an average of 30 calls a day. Some cities have opened up air raid shelters to help residents escape the heat. Farmers are struggling to cope with a warming climate. There have been mass die-offs of pigs, carp, and rabbits due to heat. At The New York Times, Nicole Hong reported on how global climate change is wreaking havoc on China

In recent weeks, extreme heat has killed fish in rice paddies in southern China’s Guangxi Province and thousands of pigs at a farm in the eastern city of Nantong, according to local news reports. The fire department in the northeastern city of Tianjin was called in to spray water on pigs that were suffering heat strokes while riding in a truck.

[…] Mr. Xi has depicted self-reliance in food as a matter of national security, often saying, “Chinese people should hold their rice bowls firmly in their own hands.” He has set a “red line” that the country must maintain 120 million hectares of farmland, and has declared war on food waste, especially in restaurants. The Chinese government frequently points out that it has to feed one-fifth of the world’s population with less than 10 percent of the world’s arable land.

[…] An article on the front page of the People’s Daily newspaper on Monday said Mr. Xi had a “special affection” for farmers and prioritized increasing their incomes. Last month, he visited a wheat field in northern China’s Hebei Province, where farmers were attempting to boost grain production by growing wheat varieties that could withstand drought.

[…] “You can impose more regulations to dis-incentivize local governments from selling farmland. You can subsidize farmers,” said Zongyuan Zoe Liu, a fellow for international political economy at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S.-based research institute. “But when extreme weather conditions happen, it not only creates damage, but it’s also very expensive to fix.” [Source]

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