The Chinese Air Force has started putting out propaganda videos similar to the sort of thing North Korea has released in the past. A two minute clip that appeared on a Chinese social media site this weekend depicts H-6 bombers attacking a U.S. air force base in Guam. It was titled “The god of war H-6K goes on the attack!” Here’s it is:
The Chinese attempt to look tough took a hit when people quickly realized several images that appear in the clip were taken directly from American films including Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
The video initially attracted praise from many patriotic netizens, who called the attack a “strike by the god of warriors to guard the sky of the motherland.” But their feel-good bubble soon burst after the scenes were linked to the PLA’s presumable enemy in the video.
At 1:07 of the video, a huge fireball erupts from the H-6K’s airstrike. It turns out to be identical to the opening scene of the 2010 Best-Picture Oscar Award winner “The Hurt Locker.”
Another scene depicting a missile flying towards the military base fired by an air force commander was discovered to be taken from a scene in Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” released in 2009. Netizens also noticed that a third scene, showing a massive explosion at a military base, seems to come from the movie “The Rock,” also directed by Bay.
Here are some visual comparisons:
A Chinese air force video showing a simulated bombing attack against a #US military base has backfired after sharp-eyed netizens realized that it contained footage lifted from #Hollywood blockbusters.
— Apple Daily HK 蘋果日報 (@appledaily_hk) September 20, 2020
The third borrowed clip is the one of the big explosion over an island. That came from the film The Rock. It looks like they’ve zoomed in a bit and done some color grading to make it less obvious but these are clearly the same images.
The Chinese military hasn’t commented on the borrowed images but someone described as close to the military told the South China Morning Post that borrowing from Hollywood was standard operating procedure because the propagandists making these clips are fans.
The person, who asked not to be named, told the South China Morning Post that it was common practice for the PLA’s publicity department to “borrow” from Hollywood films to make their productions look more spectacular.
“Almost all of the officers in the department grew up watching Hollywood movies, so in their minds, American war films have the coolest images,” the source said.
Putting aside the silliness of using Hollywood special effects to threaten America, the underlying point here is that China is very unhappy with the U.S. standing up to them in the South China Sea and with regard to Taiwan.
Drew Thompson, a former US defence department official with responsibility for managing US relations with mainland China and Taiwan, said the propaganda film was intended as a warning to any country that was within the PLA Air Force’s strike range.
“The messages put out by the People’s Republic of China propaganda machine threaten anyone who opposes [mainland] China or the Communist Party,” he said. “[The footage] warns that the PLA is prepared to use force to settle differences.”
The film was released as Keith Krach, US undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, was wrapping up his trip to Taiwan. During his visit to the island, he attended the funeral of former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui, who died on July 30 at the age of 97.
China has a very big chip on its shoulder and this is their best attempt at making a threat. It’s not going to work but I guess this sort of thing probably goes over well with a domestic audience that is used to only getting information from state media which constantly praises Xi Jinping and the CCP.