China night

A rap video claiming to correct misguided perceptions about China has been taken down amid accusations that it copied content from another music video.

According to an article on Sixth Tone, YouTube took down the video for “This is China” after Korean music label Brand New Music filed a notice of copyright infringement. The offending video apparently had footage lifted from a music video by one of Brand New Music’s artists, the South Korean rapper known as San E.

The English language music video, by the rap group Tianfu Incident and produced, according to Time magazine, with help from a studio run by the country’s Communist Youth League, argues that the media (read: Western media) has been portraying China in a misleading and unfair light.

The song acknowledges that China has problems such as air pollution, tainted food supplies and concerns that many of its wealthy citizens are “not well-educated.” But it says that’s because China is still a developing country. What’s more, it’s a peaceful place without gun violence. And even with its problems, the song says that Chinese citizens love their country.

Or, as the chorus goes, “We love the country, we the Chi-phenomena.”

In any case, it must be somewhat embarrassing that a video aimed at dispelling misconceptions and stereotypes about China has been taken down for copyright infringement, given the country’s reputation for weak intellectual property protections. Multinational companies regularly site weak IP laws as one of their biggest concerns with doing business in China, and getting dinged for infringement likely won’t help improve that reputation.

Despite the takedown, a different version of the video is still on YouTube. Commentators have described the song as “bizarre,” “godawful” and “the most painful song ever recorded.” But why trust the Western media when you can experience it for yourself?