Chinese Soldiers Are Dancing to Viral Hit ‘Little Apple’ to Convince People to Enlist

Screen capture from recruitment video of the China Ministry of Defense. Cute soldiers performing Little Apple square dance.

Screenshot from the Chinese Ministry of Defense's “Little Apple” recruitment video.

The Chinese Ministry of Defense is the latest to try their hand at the “Little Apple” music video meme, dubbed by some as China's “Gangnam Style,” with a version that promotes enlistment.

The video, which was released on on July 27, features footage of military jets and rockets as well as soldiers performing the dance seen in the original. 

Charle Liu from the translated the lyrics. The chorus goes:

There is no greater glory than to enlist in the military
Because a dream perseveres
It signifies that it is more valuable
Because a dream perseveres
It can reap lofty goals
Every young person has their own dream
Each dream has its shining glory

“Little Apple” is a music video produced and performed by Chopstick Brothers (Xiao Yang and Wang Taili) to promote the film “Old Boys: The Way of The Dragon.” The video parodies classic love stories including those of Adam and Eve and couples who were painfully separated during war in Korea. Some media have called “Little Apple” China's answer to Korean K-pop's “Gangnam Style.”

The song's chorus, translated into English, goes: 

You are my little little apple
How much I love you, still not enough
Red smile warms my heart
Light my life's fire fire fire fire fire

You are my little little apple
Like the most beautiful clouds in the sky
Spring comes again
Flowers are in full bloom on a mountain slope
Planted hope will reap

A version of the video with English subtitles and sung in English is available on YouTube

Since its release in May, the video has inspired many flash mobs and mash-ups. Perhaps the most well known one is a spoof of Kim Jong-Um — the North Korean leader's face along with Osama Bin Laden's and U.S. President Barack Obama's are superimposed onto existing footage of dancers.

The video, which was made by a Chinese web user, reportedly angered North Korea. Korean paper The Chosun Ilbo reported that the government was “furious” and asked China to ban the video from spreading. The Chinese government refused, and the story and video attracted worldwide attention.

The original “Little Apple” peaked at number one on the CCTV Global Chinese Music Chart for many weeks. Not everyone is a fan — some critics have described the song as trash with “brainwash tactics” in its musical loops.

As for the Chinese military's version, most of the comments on social media point out that the armed forces’ intention is to create a cute soldier image to appeal to young people. It is still difficult to tell whether the strategy is effective, but it reflects how Chinese political propaganda authorities are desperate to find a way to connect with younger generations.

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