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September 25, 2015
Alexander Sherr (R) and Lila Kidson, who study at Peking University and featured in a video praising...
Beijing, China
Students Sherr and Kidson, who featured in a video praising China's President Xi, are seen on a camera...
Alexander Sherr (R) and Lila Kidson, who study at Peking University and featured in a video praising China's President Xi Jinping, are seen on a camera viewfinder at the location where they were filmed for the video in the Peking University campus during an interview with Reuters in Beijing, China, September 25, 2015. Faced with a patchy image abroad, China is adopting an unusual tactic in its propaganda campaign: using bright-eyed foreign students to burnish its reputation. The problem is that most people appear not to buy it. A new video, released on Tuesday on the YouTube and Facebook accounts of People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper, has been ridiculed on the Internet for the interviewees' fawning praise of Xi. Sherr told Reuters that the university had approached him last week, saying the People's Daily was interested in interviewing several foreign students. He said the 20-minute interview was mostly about his life experiences in China and his views on Sino-U.S. relations, adding that the questions were not focused mainly on Xi. Kidson, a 22-year-old fourth-year American film student at Peking University who described Xi as a handsome and "super charismatic" leader in the video, said she thought the outcome was "cute". "I don't think I would go so far as to say it was propaganda," Kidson said. "I think every country's media wants to portray their country in the best way that they can." REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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