Video: Hilarious Chinese TV ad mocks Kim Jong Eun

February 22, 2013

Chinese software company Kingsoft is running this ad in China to promote its new Web browser, Liebao. The ad, flagged by the always-great Beijing Cream, has a simple premise:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun is about to give an important presentation, or maybe set off a nuclear warhead (it's not clear to me), when his computer's browser crashes. Can't we all relate? He pulls out a rifle and is about to shoot the responsible underling when said underling installs Kingsoft's Liebao browser in the nick of time. Everyone applauds. Then the Kim Jong Eun look-alike performs a "Gangnam Style" parody that name-checks the Liebao browser.

It's a funny ad, although mocking Kim Jong Eun isn't exactly difficult. But what's interesting is that the ad is a small reminder that, although the Beijing government might go to great lengths to prop up North Korea's government, the country is not all that popular with actual Chinese people.

Sure, some Chinese might remember the old days when China and North Korea were allies against the perceived American imperial assault (Chinese textbooks have called the Korean war the "Help Korea, Oppose America" conflict). But there is also a perception within China that North Korea is backwards and embarrassing, a burden on China's rise.

That perception might also hold in the top echelons of the Chinese government, which still ultimately sees strategic value in holding their nose and backing Kim. But  if ads like this are to be well-received by most of its audience, as Kingsoft surely hopes, then Kim's regime is not very well perceived in China.

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Max Fisher | February 22, 2013