Communist Youth League World War III Hype Video Goes Viral, Before Censors Step In

A Party organization’s flippant invocation of “World War III” using video game terms went viral over the weekend, thrilling some nationalists but perturbing other Chinese netizens. The video was later removed from Bilibili and Weibo, and netizen discussions of the clip were censored on Zhihu. 

The Hubei Communist Youth League posted a video to Bilibili featuring clips of People’s Liberation Army tanks firing, troops marching, missiles launching, ships cruising, and helicopters and fighter jets flying—standard albeit bellicose fare for a propaganda video. The video’s caption, however, was anything but ordinary: “We’re terrifyingly strong this season, so strong!” The video was also overlaid with the phrase: “Fear not, my family. We’re super strong this new season!” “New season” (新赛季, xīn sàijì), and “Season Three,” are new euphemistic terms for “world war” on the Chinese internet. World War I and II are referred to as seasons one and two, respectively. Discussion of the “new season” centers on an imagined future global war between the United States and China. In the comment section of the original Bilibili video, “little pinks” salivated over the prospect. Top comments read: “If Season 3 kicks off, I hope we take it to the Japs first!” and “The authorities have not said ‘great changes unseen in five centuries’ lightly…” 

But the video was not hailed everywhere. On question-and-answer site Zhihu, netizens expressed their unease with the video in a now-censored thread. CDT has archived and translated a sampling of the top Zhihu responses to the video

无了:Profoundly wrong. It’s hard to believe that this video was created by the ruling party of a nation that lost millions of innocents to invasion during World War II. Countless martyrs sacrificed their lives to create the people who produced this? I don’t know whether this is a product of a flawed educational system or of flawed people, but I’d prefer to believe that it’s a response to excessive American bellicosity, rather than a Chinese educational system that could produce such a group of people.

微光-1450拜登版: “III” and “Season” … You think war is some video game where the main character can come back to life??? 

Cowcowkee:Today’s China is all too similar to 1920’s Japan … 

euglenaly:Little do those who naively dream of mustering an army for war realize that they are the soldiers who will be mobilized. 

Saturn V: “Their anti-war stance isn’t opposed to going to war but rather to losing one!”

知乎用户:Germany: I urge you not to talk like this. I, too, was terrifyingly strong last season. [Chinese]


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