In the first week of May 2011, 12-year-old Huang Yibo (黄艺博) from the Chinese city of Wuhan became the focus of widespread attention in China. The public opinion storm began when a photo of Huang, who is a local Hunan leader of the Young Pioneers — an organization of young aspiring Chinese Communist Party members under the Chinese Communist Youth League — circulated on the Internet in which he wears his signature red scarf and is decorated with various youth honors symbolized with his “five-stripe badge.” The photo, in which Huang seems the very image of a Party official, drew scorn from many internet users and prompted fierce discussion over the health of China’s government-dominated education system. News reports followed by reporting that Huang Yibo was watching the CCP’s nightly official newscast Xinwen Lianbo every day from the age of two, and reading the Party’s official People’s Daily every day by the age of seven. While some suggested this qualified Huang as a “genius” or “prodigy,” many others were disgusted and aghast. Another dominant concern in the days that followed was for Huang Yibo’s privacy and the need to protect children. However mature Huang Yibo might seem, after all, he is still just a child. In the following cartoon, posted by artist Chen Chunming (陈春鸣) to, Huang Yibo, wearing of course his now infamous “five-stripe badge”, sits atop a soaring pencil rocket powered by firecrackers labeled “sensationalism” or “[news] build-up.” Huang Yibo wears a concerned on his face and sweats with apprehension, the flight completely beyond his control. In his backpack are copies of People’s Daily and the Party’s official Reference News. A series of images created by web users to lampoon Huang Yibo is available at ChinaHush.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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