WATCH: China’s Viral Video on How to Be a Leader

According to a wildly popular online cartoon in China, the answer lies in the careful way the country grooms its leaders—a process that puts the American and British political career ladder to shame

  • Share
  • Read Later

The “How Leaders Are Made” video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times since it was uploaded on Oct. 15, presents cartoon characters representing China’s President Xi Jinping and the six other men who make up the country’s ruling Standing Committee.

As a bouncy Xi bobs across the screen, a bright, cheery voice intones that every provincial or ministerial level leader in China is chosen from among 140,000 officials—a process that takes at least 20 years. The men who rule the world’s second-largest economy, clearly, are very special men whose selection involves “meritocratic screening that requires years of hard work like the making of a kung fu master.”

And what effort does reaching the level of U.S. President involve, according to the video? Only one year and “an unending flow of greenbacks.” (Becoming Britain’s PM is compared to Susan Boyle winning “Britain’s Got Talent.”)

Who exactly produced the cartoon isn’t clear. The five-minute spot was uploaded in Beijing and the closing credits are for “A studio on Fuxing Road.” Surely this is a pun: fuxing, or revival, is a signature catchphrase of China’s ruling Communist Party, which has unveiled a propaganda campaign calling for the national revival of the Middle Kingdom.

Furthermore, Fuxing Road in Beijing is a street famous for being lined with government bureaus. The office of the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is one of them. As speculation erupted over the video’s mystery creator, the Southern Metropolis Daily, an occasionally enterprising Chinese daily, quoted an expert who said the video was very likely made by someone in government. After all, despite the massive number of hits the cartoon has received, the video has not been pulled by China’s industrious censors.