Speed Reads

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China is using adorable propaganda videos to cast itself as the global defender of free trade

Last week, China debuted its Silk Road Economic Belt (or "belt and road initiative"), a large-scale infrastructure project intended to launch "a new era of globalization" by promoting trade between Asia and other regions. Named for the historic Silk Road, the project is also designed to cast China as the new leading defender of free trade, stepping into a geopolitical role President Trump's protectionist rhetoric threatens to leave vacant.

To promote this new Silk Road — and take a swipe at the United States — China's state-run media outlet People's Daily has released a series of cutesy videos preaching international trade and friendship. Belt and road participants will be able to "talk to the world through peace and love," "start a business and watch it grow," and "take my hand and have no regrets," claymation figures explain in a chipper song entitled "One rap song to tell you what exactly is the Belt and Road."

Another video, starring a man who has decided this international trade initiative is the perfect topic for his preschooler's bedtime stories, pointedly notes that "any country can join anywhere," including the non-member U.S.

Critics say China's new pro-trade rhetoric doesn't mesh with its ongoing trade restrictions. "The only reason China has a leg to stand on in this argument is the campaign rhetoric and ongoing statements of President Trump and his advisers," said Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in an interview with The Washington Post.

Watch the claymation video below, and check out two other clips via the Post. Bonnie Kristian