President Xi Jinping’s Family-Friendly, Close-Up Magic TikTok Series Goes Viral

Written by: Millie You

After the new plan was enacted on the platform, tensions have reportedly risen between the BTS Army and the People’s Liberation Army.
Photo by Sharon Roth

Since the advent of the internet, youth have always searched for new avenues to share content. Today’s platform is TikTok, and Chinese President Xi Jinping knows this well, not hesitating to turn to this new avenue to reach out to his fellow countrymen with a special focus on China’s younger generation. The leader has launched an ambitious program: an official TikTok account featuring him performing various magic tricks, predicated on “moral, family-friendly, and patriotic values that will enrich and educate the youth.”

“The president has always enjoyed dabbling in tricks to make people laugh, and he has decided to turn his magic hobby into great service for the future of the country,” read a CCP statement. “Stay tuned for the next video, titled ‘Pay Attention to Me and Not Your BTS Fan Club!’” Each video features a running theme or moral, such as “Celebrity simping is BANNED unless it’s Winnie the Pooh,” “It’s only sexual assault if I acknowledge it, and I don’t,” “No, we do not have the gay or trans or any of the alphabet here in China,” and most recently, “Sissy men are ruining everything — think of the children!”

Xi’s series, though child and teenager-focused, is also aimed at popular public figures, encouraging them to “display political correctness, proper masculinity, and promote traditional culture.” The most lauded aspects of his videos, however, are the magic tricks themselves — particularly the disappearing ones. “It’s so strange,” says amateur close-up magician Huai Dan, 17. “You’d think that disappearing tricks are basic and old, but he does them so well that it’s kind of unnatural. On real life people, no less. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool that he’s doing this, but it’s a little disconcerting. But I have nothing against him trending for close-up magic and all that. Just for the record, I love my country.”

To date, President Xi has already “magicked” several celebrity-endorsed products and Chinese megastars, including actress and director Zhao Wei, known internationally for playing the titular role in the 2009 film Mulan, out of existence. There has been no indication of any of these public figures or products returning from wherever they seemed to have disappeared to, an occurrence that has shaken some citizens. “HE CAN PRY MY K-POP MERCH FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!!!” a now-deleted post on Weibo read. “No one told me simping made me an enemy of the state,” complained another.

“Permanent erasure from reality doesn’t bode well for many people, especially those whose means of expression rely on internet mediums or unconventional celebrities the president doesn’t approve of,” says Sui Bian, professor of sociology at Ben Dan University. “His crusade to save the youth of China is admirable, and one must marvel at the surprising efficiency of close-up magic in carrying out government orders, but the effect this will have on the young and mainstream culture remains to be seen.”

The effects of this TikTok-driven cultural clean-up have the potential to be far-reaching, but whether or not it will take root in an internet-savvy generation remains nebulous.

“HE DISINTEGRATED THE ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN WEBSITE WITH A SNAP OF HIS FINGERS!!” wrote a Weibo user in a post with more than 800,000 likes. “Someone pls tell me where the hell I’m supposed to read smutty gay fanfics now???”

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