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    Hong Kong State of Mind: Xinhua Raps Handover Anniversary

    Following the young tradition of upbeat propaganda songs, hip-hop video stresses ‘one country, two systems.’

    China’s state news agency Xinhua has released an animated music video celebrating the upcoming 20th anniversary of the British ceding control of Hong Kong to the mainland.

    The upbeat song gives a detailed explanation of “one country, two systems,” the policy that allows Hong Kong and Macau, China’s special administrative regions (SARs), to retain their capitalist economic and political systems. July 1 marks 20 years since the handover.

    The rap is the latest in a series of songs that attempt to unpack political concepts and initiatives in a light and accessible way. In May, a video of children singing the praises of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s highly touted intercontinental infrastructure project, was released online. Similar songs have been written about the 13th Five-Year Plan, Karl Marx, foreign media bias, Party member benevolence, and even bringing electricity to Tibet.

    In the video, released on various social media platforms on Monday, a teacher walks into class and explains “one country, two systems” ahead of a “very, very, very important exam.” The song clarifies Hong Kong’s rights as one of China’s SARs. “China has granted rights to Hong Kong like a big box of gifts,” raps a fast-talking male voice in the first verse, “including administrative power, legislative power, independent jurisdiction, and the right of final adjudication.”

    The song’s melodic chorus, sung alternately in Mandarin and Cantonese, explains that the unifying power of “one country, two systems” is the only force that can unite Hong Kong’s and China’s respective flags.

    The rap also highlights Beijing’s areas of jurisdiction — namely, foreign affairs and the military — and ultimate power in deciding who can be Hong Kong’s chief executive. As the image of Carrie Lam, soon to be sworn in as Hong Kong’s leader, is shown, the male voice raps, “The fifth chief executive has been elected, but only through appointment by the central government can they take the role.”

    The second verse shows clips from the 1997 handing-over ceremony, with British flags being lowered and Chinese flags being raised, accompanied by the rhythmic words, “Down with humiliation, up with sovereignty.”

    Editor: David Paulk.

    (Header image: A screenshot from Xinhua’s ‘one country, two systems’ animated rap video.)