While China’s president Xi Jinping was paying a visit to Ya’nan, the former revolutionary base of the Communist Party and where Xi spent much of his youth, his American counterpart was charming Chinese audiences with a Taylor Swift parody and selfies.
Baracksdubs, a professional soundbite team, cut and pasted sound bites of Obama’s speeches to create a video where he appears to be singing Taylor Swift’s hit song, “Shake It Off”. The video subsequently went viral on Chinese social media and video sharing websites.
By the end of the day, the phrase “Obama Shake It Off” had been searched close to 60,ooo times on Sina Weibo. At the same time, images of Obama taking selfies with a selfie stick, and making faces in front of mirror in the White House, began to gain traction online.
Chinese newspaper Xinmin posted all of the GIF images and wrote on its Weibo account, “February 15 is the deadline for enrolling in Obamacare. In order to attract more young voters to purchase healthcare, Obama took a selfie for promotion.”
Many netizens were impressed by Obama’s casual and approachable demeanour in the images. One Weibo user named 逝者如斯随风舞 wrote, “Other people’s presidents are an ordinary human beings, while ours is seen as a god.”
Another user called yixiu_lai wrote sarcastically, “The president who doesn’t visit Yan’an during Chinese Spring Festival is not a good president.”