04/01/2019, 13.00
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Like a prize competition, big Xi app on your smartphone

Launched by the Chinese Communist Party's Propaganda Department, the platform aggregates articles, speeches, video clips, and documentaries on Xi Jinping. The time spent using the app and answering questions earns points for discounts and free admissions to tourist locations.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese Communist Party's Propaganda Department has launched a smartphone app to spread the thoughts of Xi Jinping. By reading suggested articles and answering questions users can accumulate points.

Officially the app is called Xuexi qiangguo, which roughly translates as "studying the great nation", but also plays on the character “Xi” to suggest it is a way for people to learn about their president, Xi Jinping.

The app aggregates articles, video clips and documentaries on the Chinese president’s thoughts, which are part of the constitution.

People can browse through the materials and answer questions, earning points they can later redeem for treats. Of course, all Party cadres are encouraged to use it and register with their real names.

Launched in January, the app topped the download charts for months and even now it is the most downloaded app in the education category.

For those who earn many points, some companies offer promotional discounts. In some cities, local governments offer free admissions to selected tourist attractions.

Many commentators have compared the app to Mao’s “little red book”, which was read by Red Guards to meditate every day.

One thing that the little red book did not have, but which the app possesses, is the ability to track users’ engagement and learning through the scoring system and monitoring functions.

But the app’s users have already worked out ways to cheat. In just a few months an underground industry has sprung up with programmers offering plug-ins that allow users to appear to be performing well in the various exercises without actually making much effort.

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