'Xi cult' app becomes red hot hit in China | The Daily Star
12:08 AM, February 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:09 AM, February 22, 2019

'Xi cult' app becomes red hot hit in China

A propaganda app that puts China's powerful President Xi Jinping in anyone's pockets has become a hit in the country -- with a helpful nudge from Communist Party officials.

Millions have downloaded the app, which tracks the amount of time users spend browsing inspirational quotes from the Chinese leader and watching short videos of his speeches and travels.

People are rewarded with points for sharing articles or answering quizzes on Communist heroes, and one day they may be able to redeem their scores for gifts such as pastries and tablets.

But it's not all fun and games. Some people say they felt pressured to download it, others hope it can help their careers, and local government officials have been heavily promoting it.

The app's name -- "Xuexi Qiangguo" or "Study to Make China strong" -- is a pun as the Chinese word for studying, Xuexi, can also be read as "Study Xi".

It has been downloaded nearly 44 million times on Apple and Android devices since its launch in January, according to Beijing-based statistics provider Qimai Technology.

"It's a perfect example of propaganda in the Xi era... that appeals to China's large online population," said Manya Koetse, who tracks social trends in China as editor of What's on Weibo.

“The party will go wherever the people are."

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