he hottest app in China right now isn’t WeChat or TikTok but one that will help make sure you keep up with all things Xi Jinping.
Named Xuexi Qiangguo (学习强国), which translates to “Study Strong Nation” while also making a pun on the Chinese president’s surname, the app provides users with an abundance of material relating to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the man behind China’s newest guiding ideology.
Through the app, users can access news articles about Xi, video clips of Xi, and speeches given by Xi. Then, they can test their knowledge by taking quizzes on… you guessed, Xi Dada!
The app was released last month by the Chinese Communist Party’s publicity department. Since then, it has mostly remained at the top of the download charts for Apple’s China app store.
This app for studying Xi Jinping Thought has been the #1 downloaded iPhone app in China for most of the past month pic.twitter.com/Rhb0d29aab
— Eva Dou (@evadou) February 14, 2019
Of course, the app hasn’t exactly achieved its chart-topping success organically. CCP members and Chinese government officials are reportedly encouraged, if not ordered, to download the app and use it daily.
To ensure that users are not neglecting Xi’s wisdom, Xuexi Qiangguo has a points system where users can earn “study points” by reading articles, watching videos, making comments, or taking quizzes. In future versions of the app, they will be able to redeem these points for prizes of some sort.
As the China Media Project describes, the app’s points system is actually quite innovative. There is a limit on how many points you can earn each day through a single task (like making comments), encouraging users to engage more broadly with all the app has to offer. Meanwhile, the app will also know if you are trying to cheat the system by simply opening articles without really reading them, tracking how much time you spend on a page and if you scroll down.
Oh, and by the way, in order to download the app, you have to register with your real name and phone number.
Though it isn’t likely to replace WeChat, Xuexi Qiangguo does also offer other features outside of pure political propaganda, including a Snapchat-like messaging system (where messages disappear after being read) and the ability to send others digital hongbao via Alipay.
While this is far from the first Xi-centric app that China has rolled out — who could forget “Clap for Xi“? — it is certainly the slickest and most sophisticated effort yet at connecting with the masses via their smartphones. With enough time and effort, users may even start to understand just what the heck Xi Jinping Thought actually is.