laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

China’s G20 Propaganda Videos Aims to Win Over Foreigners With Food

"To ensnare a person's heart, first ensnare their stomach"

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

The G20 summit in Hangzhou is fast approaching, but its nervous host is worried that foreign special interests will ruin the party and undermine its place on the international stage.

Even though the summit is a gathering of the world’s strongest economies to discuss global growth strategies, regional issues may dominate. An international ruling on the South China Sea territorial dispute, an anti-missile system to be deployed in South Korea in the wake of a North Korean cruise missile launch, and strategic investment of foreign infrastructure are all issues that divide China from its Western peers.

And this division of opinion isn’t one that favors China. Reuters quotes an unidentified senior Western envoy who said, “From where China sits, it looks like the Americans are trying to encircle them.” Even the state-run Study Times published an op-ed that accuses Western powers of trying to limit the rise of Chinese power by “forging a new ‘sacred alliance'”.

It seems there’s not much China can do to prepare for the onslaught of Western criticism that may appear during the G20 summit… that is, unless it can pre-empt any criticism with a bevy of Western approval and praise.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

The China Daily recently published a video featuring foreign tourists visiting Hangzhou. The video was about how much tourists enjoyed local Chinese delicacies, particularly xiaolongbao (literally “little dragon dumplings”). The video concludes with the tourists expressing how much they love China, and wishing host city Hangzhou good luck on hosting the G20 summit.

If that isn’t a clear endorsement of foreign opinion regarding Hangzhou and the G20 summit, here’s China Daily’s own introduction to clarify any doubts:

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

To ensnare a person’s heart, you must first ensnare their stomach. This is something Hangzhou can do! Hangzhou will serve as the location of this year’s G20 summit. Many foreigners will come to Hangzhou as tourists. Hangzhou xiaolongbao will conquer the taste buds of foreign foodies. This video will ensure your mouth will water. Good luck China! Good luck Hangzhou!

It could be that the main target of this video was a foreign audience, as it was done exclusively in English. However, with Chinese subtitles added, this can also be directed at a domestic audience as proof that foreigners are in total approval of all things Chinese, Hangzhou, and G20 summit-related.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

What do Chinese think? Do they want foreign approval? Is this a propaganda video? Does this make you hungry for xiaolongbao? Here is what some Chinese netizens have to say about the China Daily video:

Very good, very China.

Chinese cuisine will conquer the world!

The words of these foreigners match those of the imperial edict.

Some people watched the video, and all they could think about was how delicious the food looked:

Watching this made my mouth water.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

If you want the best xiaolongbao, it’s best to go to Jiangsu where they are thin-skinned with lots of juice.

Aren’t xiaolongbao best in Wuxi?

Others saw the video has a promotional vehicle for the upcoming G20 summit:

This (video) is just for tricking foreigners.

上浮下钝 昨天
Made me barf. Is this more self-promotion?

Some netizens were very critical of the video’s message that seeks approval from abroad:

凉夏微 昨天:
Don’t want to receive recognition from foreigners. This demonstrates how we like to have our idols and put on a show for them. We always want to comfort others and receive their praise and make them happy. But at the moment they’re not pleased, then we feel as though they can’t appreciate us. What does this have to do with self-confidence? Comments here that want foreigners to recognize our worth are really self-abasing.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

佳佳笑语 昨天
It’s as though Chinese deeply desire recognition from laowai

However, some people took objection to the way the video was viewed as a ‘propaganda’ video:

What is all this about ‘insisting on receiving recognition from foreigners’? Are you insisting on showing off your intellect here (in these comments)? All this video is doing is to propagate the culture of Chinese cuisine. Some people really just have such a limited world view.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

I’m honestly speechless. All these (foreigners) have done is come to Hangzhou as tourists, eat these xiaolongbao and find them delicious. That’s all. What’s up with all these comments being so tart?

That said, some netizens pointed out that the eating of the ‘xiaolongbao’ appears to be just a charade:

Why isn’t there any soup (in the dumplings)?

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

This is not an accurate depiction (of what xiaolongbao are). Anyone who has eaten a xiaolongbao knows that they have a frail structure. You can’t eat them with your hands, otherwise the soup inside the dumpling will run out, ruining the taste. The proper way to eat xiaolongbao is to lightly grip them (using chopsticks) and suck out the juice, and season with vinegar using own personal preference. That’s the perfect way to eat it.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

Other netizens continued to point out that when it comes to food, the video is inaccurate:

Xiaolongbao are not a special delicacy of Hangzhou, but rather a regional one that belongs to Shanghai and Zhejiang. Can these comments not try to act so superior? Your northern steamed buns aren’t so delicious, in my opinion.

Authentic Hangzhou xiaolongbao originate from outside Hangzhou

Xiaolongbao are already available all over the world.

Was the xiaolongbao eaten by the Muslim girl Halal-approved? (One common variety of xiaolongbao contains pork with minced crab meat and roe)

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

However much these foreigners enjoy their xiaolongbao, netizens pointed out that Hangzhou will be basically off-limits to Chinese during the summit:

Going to Hangzhou now is like entering the customs of a foreign country!

Many stores have closed down (for the G20 summit); there’s not even places to go eat. They really know how to hype!

Will Hangzhou’s xiaolongbao stores still be open (during the G20 summit)?

So, what’s the point of the video? One netizens poses the question, while another answers:

Why must we win over the stomachs of foreigners?

Just one xiaolongbao is all it takes to win you over.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

Watch the video here, but be forewarned: if you don’t find yourself having a strong opinion either way, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself getting hungry.

laowai praise hangzhou g20 summit china daily video

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor