In China, a Quiz Show Is an Ode to Xi Jinping

World News

HONG KONG — The Chinese game show begins like many others, with flashing lights, a heroic soundtrack and rapturous applause from a studio audience.

But on this show, one topic dominates: President Xi Jinping, the man, the leader, the Communist Party chief. Contestants face a daunting array of questions about his favorite books, the meaning of his speeches, and his formative years in a rural village.

The five-part show, “Studying Xi in the New Era,” airing on Chinese state television this week, aims to inspire interest in Mr. Xi’s life and ideas among a younger generation. It is the latest sign of the predominance of Mr. Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, in the daily life of citizens.

The show poses a series of multiple-choice questions, many of them focused on Mr. Xi, as well as a smattering of questions about figures like Marx, Mao and Deng Xiaoping.

But the show often feels like an ode to Mr. Xi.

At one point, a contestant says that Mr. Xi’s ideology “brims with vigor.” Another describes his leadership as “infinitely powerful.”

At another moment, a moderator plays a clip of a speech and asks what Mr. Xi meant when he said that the profundity of Marxism could be traced to one sentence.

Tang Xuwang, a graduate student in Marxism at the University of South China, chimes in with the correct answer: “To seek liberation for the human race.”

A panel of university professors specializing in the ideology of Mr. Xi and of other leftist leaders acts as judges and commentators.

The show, which airs in prime time on Hunan Television, one of China’s most popular channels, was developed with the advice of Communist Party officials in Hunan Province. The state media describes the show as a response to Mr. Xi’s call for “a thorough study session among the whole party.”

“Studying Xi in the New Era,” follows the debut of another ideology-themed show, “Marx Got It Right,” this spring as part of an effort to better explain Marxist ideals to Chinese millennials.

Party leaders have expressed concern that young Chinese are too far removed from the ideals of communist revolution, and officials have expanded ideological education to try to counter Western influences.

“Studying Xi in the New Era” uses a variety of stunts seemingly aimed at a younger audience. A robot asks questions. Animations of spaceships and galaxies appear in the background. A cartoon version of Marx delivers lessons in Mandarin.

“They want to show that the party is close to the people,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political-science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. “But it’s very difficult to convince the youth.”

Follow Javier C. Hernández on Twitter: @HernandezJavier.

Zoe Mou contributed research from Beijing.

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