To help its efforts at reviving the ancient Silk Road catch on with the younger crowd, China has begun appealing to foreign children with propagandistic bedtime stories and catchy sing-alongs.
On May 13th (Saturday), leaders from various countries across Asia and Europe (including North Korea) will arrive in Beijing for the much-anticipated Belt and Road Forum where they will discuss China's grand plans of establishing a new Silk Road of highways and high-speed trains through the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
While this may not seem like the most thrilling subject matter for kids, China Daily apparently believes that it makes for the perfect bedtime story. This week, the state-owned media outlet has published videos starring Erik Nilsson, an American journalist at China Daily, explaining all the benefits of the initiative to his five-year-old daughter, Liliana.
In the first episode, Nilsson gives Liliana some basic background information about the project, eventually leaving her on cliffhanger, telling her that it's about more than just "moving stuff around."
Nilsson returns the next night to reveal that the "Belt and Road Initiative" is also about "people and cooperation," noting that while any country is free to join, the United States has yet to do so. "It's China's idea. But it belongs to the world," he tells his daughter who doesn't understand what he means.
The following night, Nilsson explains the benefits of globalization to his obviously captivated daughter. "It's good for people. We live happier lives when we cooperate. That's why countries want to join the Belt and Road," he says. As for what countries have joined, he keeps his daughter in suspense for one more night.
In the fourth episode, Nilsson marks on a globe the various countries that are taking part in the Belt and Road initiative, explaining to Liliana that "some countries are moving away from globalization. So, the Belt and Road is an opportunity to move globalization forward."
We assume that there is at least one more video in the series to be released, so stay tuned for more veiled attacks on the US.
Meanwhile, if your child prefers sing-alongs to bedtime stories, China's official Xinhua news agency has also published a video starring some ethnically-diverse children singing the praises of the Belt and Road. "The Belt connects the land, the Road moves on the Sea. The promise that they hold, is joint prosperity," one girl sings.