Thursday, August 13, 2015

'Blood and genes': China's alarming new military recruitment campaign

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) last week released a new recruitment video that is unlikely to assuage growing fears in the region over an increasingly nationalistic and expansionist China 

The slick 4 minute 16 second video opens with the header 'Our Dream.' Accompanied by a surprisingly restrained soundtrack, this section appeals to China's youth. We see young Chinese graduating from university and engaging in various sports, including snowboarding. This is interspersed with images of Hong Kong's retrocession, all meant to cultivate pride in a 'new' China. 'We were born in the 1990s,' the accompanying text says, in Chinese. 'By then, China had already risen...with bright dreams, we want to shine like the new century...we want to become very strong.' 

It doesn't take long, however, for the video to shift to bombastic music and visuals of a very different nature. The appeal to nationalism — and to China's territorial claims — is hard to miss, what with footage of the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islets in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Japan and Taiwan, as well as various features in the South China Sea, a source of rising tension in recent years. 

My article, published today in the Interpreter at the Lowy Institute continues here.

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