China military PR film mocked over 'Hollywood clips'


A screengrab from the PLA Airforce promotional videoImage copyright
PLA Airforce Online

Image caption

The military propaganda video was launched over the weekend

A Chinese military propaganda video simulating a bombing raid used clips from Hollywood blockbusters, including Transformers and The Rock, reports say.

The video shows nuclear-capable H-6 bombers carrying out a simulated attack on what appears to be a US military base on the Pacific island of Guam.

The video was viewed nearly five million times on China’s Sina Weibo microblogging platform.

But many users mocked its apparent use of scenes from Hollywood movies.

“It’s fortunate that China has no issues with copyright,” one joked.

“Stealing from another American film? I just… haha” wrote another user, while a third said: “Don’t use clips from these awful countries. People look down on us on Twitter and it drives me crazy.”

The two-minute video, called Gods of War – Attack!, was released by China’s air force on Saturday.

Set to dramatic music, it shows H-6 bombers launching an attack on what appears to be the US’s Andersen Air Force Base.

“We are the defenders of the motherland’s aerial security; we have the confidence and ability to always defend the security of the motherland’s skies,” the air force wrote alongside the video.

But social media users quickly noticed that the video’s most dramatic scenes appeared to have been taken from the films Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Rock and Hurt Locker.

The Chinese military has not publicly commented on these claims.

A source close to the military told the South China Morning Post newspaper that it was common practice for the army’s publicity department to “borrow” from Hollywood films.

“Almost all of the officers in the department grew up watching Hollywood movies, so in their minds, American war films have the coolest images,” the source was quoted as saying.

The video was released as China carried out military exercises near Taiwan, amid heightened tensions over the visit of a senior US State Department official to the island. China regards self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Collin Koh, a research fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, told Reuters news agency the video was meant to “warn the Americans that even supposedly safe, rearward positions such as Guam may come under threat when conflicts over regional flashpoints, be it Taiwan or South China Sea, erupt.”

‘Borrowing’ a common defence for Chinese producers

Kerry Allen, China Media Analyst, BBC News

In 2015, China’s top media regulator urged a crackdown on “poorly made” war dramas, and filmmakers were criticised for using superhuman and unrealistic plots to tell stories about China’s real-life wars.

So there’s a certain irony in China’s official channels “borrowing” from films, five years on, to demonstrate the abilities of its real-life army.

“Borrowing” has been a common defence from Chinese producers, who have had a track record of using overseas formats to achieve popularity and success in the country. Many are of the view that because there is so much red-tape in China about what is deemed acceptable for a domestic audience, producers have no choice but to look to where overseas formats have been successful, as they are often edgier and more captivating than Chinese productions.

But then the reality is that because so few Western films have entered the Chinese market, most users have seen them. So netizens quickly picked up on scenes in this video “borrowing” from The Rock and Transformers 2.



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