Players ‘applaud’ Xi Jinping in Tencent game


The Tencent clapping gameImage copyright
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Users “clap” for Mr Xi by tapping their phone screen

A smartphone game in which players can “applaud” Chinese president Xi Jinping has gone viral.

The app, released in the week of the Communist Party Congress, lets users clap for Mr Xi by tapping their phone screen as many times as possible in 19 seconds.

The game, from Tencent, has racked up 1.2 billion plays in three days.

Public displays of loyalty to the president are commonplace in China and have intensified ahead of the congress.

The closed-door summit, which ends on Tuesday, will determine who rules China and the country’s political direction.

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Getty Images

Image caption

President Xi gave a speech lasting three and a half hours to the Communist Party Congress

Mr Xi, who is widely expected to be re-appointed as leader, opened the summit with a speech lasting three and a half hours, in which he said China had entered a “new era” and should “take centre stage in the world”.

In the Tencent game, users are shown extracts of the speech on topics such as regulating the housing market to protect young homebuyers, or improving the lives of poor farmers.

They are then encouraged to tap the screen to see how fast they can “applaud”.

Many have challenged friends to compete and shared their scores on social media.

On Thursday, Tencent said players had clapped over a billion times in total so far.

‘Cult of personality’

It is not the first time apps have been used to encourage political loyalty in China.

The Communist Party has released more than 100 for its members, featuring quizzes and classes that promote its values.

Public displays of loyalty to the president are also commonplace in China, with Mr Xi’s face appearing prominently on billboards and souvenirs sold in tourist areas.

Top officials also often publicly praise his ideology – although this has led some to warn that Mr Xi is creating a cult of personality around himself to entrench his position.

Since taking office in 2012, Mr Xi has taken steps to cement his leadership including a wide-reaching corruption crackdown, likened by some to a political purge.

The Communist Party is widely expected to rewrite its constitution next week to enshrine his political ideology – dubbed “Xi Jinping Thought”.

The move would elevate him to the level of previous leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.


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