You are probably familiar with the most printed book in the world: the Bible.
But you’ve probably never even heard of the second-most printed book. It’s known as the “Little Red Book,” or officially “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.”
It’s a collection of statements from the speeches and writings of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China.
Mao, who once said that “to read too many books is harmful,” had more than one billion copies of this single book printed and distributed.
Its purpose was to force people to internalize Mao’s ideals. This elevated him to the status of deity within China.
The book remained an icon of Mao Zedong’s cult of personality and a mainstay in Chinese culture through the ‘70s.
As a result, an entire generation of Chinese have grown up not knowing anything better than what the Party has to offer them.
And now, the Chinese government is doubling down their efforts to control the thoughts of its 1.4 billion citizens…
The Little Red App – Redefining Propaganda in the Information Age
It’s been called the “Little Red App”.
But the impact it’s having is far from little.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has created a platform much like Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Its purpose is to indoctrinate people with the Party’s ideologies.
The app was released in January 2019. Its official name is “学习强国” (And pronounced shu-yue–hee–qi-ung–gu-wo).
The title contains a clever pun on Xi Jinping’s name: It can mean either “Study the Great Nation,” or “Learn Xi [Jinping’s] Great Nation.”
And right now, it’s the most-downloaded app in China – but for all the wrong reasons.
Regular usage of this app rewards you with “Xi study points.”
- Reading an article or watching a video earns you 0.1 points.
- Commenting earns you 0.1 points, to a maximum of 0.2 points a day.
- Spending half an hour on the app nets you an entire 1 point.
There are even certain times of day in which your point gain is doubled. For example, if you’re on the app between 8:30-10:00 p.m. on weekdays. This way, you can ensure Xi Jinping’s rhetoric is fresh in your head before going to bed.
Above: Xi Jinping’s Eight Absolutes, from the Study the Strong Nation website. Note the Little Red Book motif.
If you think you can just open up an article and leave the app open for a few minutes, you’d be wrong.
The app tracks your activity too, like whether or not you’re scrolling through the articles. This ensures that people are actually engaging with the content. And not just faking lip service to the Party.
Scores are shared publicly, and people with low scores are shamed by their friends.
It’s Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate” come to life. Only now it’s gamified, and everyone is competing to get a higher score than everyone else.
The Chinese government is using a classic carrot-and-stick treatment. For now, Xi study points are supposed to get you small gifts in future versions of the app.
But you can bet it’s only a matter of time before the study points are tied to Social Credit Scores.
Want to Stay Employed – You Better be on the Little Red App…
Many government departments and workplaces are already making sure employees hit a daily target of Xi study points.
The government is exercising special oversight into how the app is used by Party members and by teachers. Basically, anyone who can ensure the next generation does not step out of line.
It would have been easy to ignore the book form. Or left to collect dust on a shelf somewhere.
It’s an app whose daily use is required in order to keep your job. It means you need to be on it to keep a roof over your head, and food on your table.
Xi Jinping has not only introduced a vehicle for brainwashing the masses…
- He’s also created a means to ensure no citizen will ever be able turn a blind eye to it.
The entire Chinese populace will have no choice but to absorb its content.
This is powerful and well thought out. And it has an incredible shot at working.
Brought to You by the Country That Banned Winnie the Pooh
The question of whether such an app – or even its content – is good or bad is not the issue.
The issue is the fact that China, of all countries, is the one implementing it.
And no one is talking about this in the Western world… yet.
Here are a couple of other ways China is “teaching” its citizens:
- An estimated 1-3 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are being held in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang.
- The recent Christopher Robin movie was banned. Not because of disagreeable material. Because of joke images circulating on the internet comparing Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping to Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, respectively.
Above: the image that caused the movie “Christopher Robin” to get banned in China.
The long-term consequences of forcing more than a billion people to study the same material – no exceptions – should send shivers down anyone’s spine.
The fact that this is happening via the hands of a government like China’s is nothing short of terrifying.
It marks the complete transition of China from an authoritarian government to a very well organized and powerful totalitarian government.
It’s no longer just required submission to the Party line. It’s governmental control over every single aspect of public and private life.
China Will Become the World’s Largest Economy – But is it Ready for Center Stage?
Of course, China is not the only country in the world where the government attempt to influence the people.
The Political parties in control within the U.S. or Canada try. But they have never created a platform that has the potential to succeed at the goal such as what China has created.
The difference is – China is the world’s second largest economy…
Its GDP is projected to surpass the United States’ sometime in the 2020s.
The Chinese Yuan has the third largest weighting in the IMF’s world reserve currency basket.
- In 2012, it was the thirteenth-most-used currency. In 2015, it was fourth.
China’s economic might is massive. It has been trying to build its soft power for years.
It both produces and consumes the most food of any country in the world.
Likewise, it tops or is near the top for both production and consumption of resources like gold, coal, copper, aluminum and iron ore.
It’s the world’s largest exporter of goods, ranging from clothing to industrial machinery to consumer electronics.
In the rapidly escalating trade war, it has gone toe-to-toe with the U.S. Every threat of tariffs has been met with another threat of tariffs.
And when Canada drew China’s ire through the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, China responded in a familiar manner.
Recently, China shut down imports of canola from one of Canada’s largest exporters.
Even so, the U.S. and Canadian governments refuse to back down.
The other countries of the world aren’t quite ready to roll over and play dead. Especially not for China.
But this is all part of the Chinese government’s long-term plan. They want the Yuan to be seen as an alternative to the U.S. Dollar as the global currency.
This move wouldn’t just give them greater global clout or support the economic reforms. It would allow them to spread their authoritarianism to the rest of the world… including the U.S.
China is doing many things right and nobody should underestimate their political ability.
More importantly, China has launched what may be the most powerful app ever created.
Are you prepared for a Little Red App in America?
You wouldn’t want to be influenced or indoctrinated unknowingly, would you?