When Chinese state media released the first-ever cartoon image of Xi Jinping in an infographic about his busy schedules earlier this year, many media, both in and outside of China, welcomed the debut, considering it a break-through effort by the Chinese government to promote a kinder, softer and “closer to the people” image of the country’s big boss. So what about a whole series of Xi Jinping cartoons?
Under a special section dedicated to China’s on-going National People’s Congress, iFeng.com, website of Phoenix TV, a pro-Beijing TV broadcaster based in Hong Kong, featured a total of 6 comic strips of Xi Jingping meeting with people and their conversations: Uncle Xi’s Cartoon.
With his jet-black hair and round belly, Xi is in his signature grey zip-up jacket most the times in the carton, but occasionally changes to Mao suits or plain black suits. His pink lips, however, should be additions by the iFeng team. One thing worth noting is that some stories in the cartoon are based on real events.
Before political interpretations, many netizens’ first question after reading the cartoon is: “Where is the humor?” Netizen 变态辣椒 , a popular Chinese cartoonist known for his liberal views and critics of current events in China, commented: “These comic strips aren’t funny at all, which isn’t an easy thing to do, either.”
He went on to point out that Xi Jinping’s cartoon image is in a completely different style from the other people: “It’s like a 3-dimensional person jumps into a 2-dimensional world.”
To be fair, these comic strips, depending on one’s perspective, are kind of funny, though not in the way that they are intended to be.
“Xi is having a conversation with villagers while sitting cross-legged.”
“Xi talks with navy soldiers”
“Xi discusses EQ with college-student village cadres”
“Xi greets: ‘Hello, beautiful!’”
“Xi visits locals in Xiangxi”
“Xi is in line for steamed buns at Qingfeng”