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China State Media Promotes Rap Song Praising Karl Marx

Karl Marx photographed circa 1865.
Roger Viollet Collection/Getty Images

Karl Marx photographed circa 1865.

The latest hot topic for Chinese rappers is a bearded 19th century German philosopher who wrote a book called "The Communist Manifesto." Chinese state media are promoting a new rap song praising Karl Marx, in the latest attempt to leverage popular culture in support of the ruling Communist Party.

Entitled "Marx is a post-90" -- China's version of a millennial -- the song extols the communist godfather's supposed coolness with lyrics such as, "Life is full of little accidents, then one day I discovered how awesome he was."

"I saw my faith, don't even ask why," it continues. "You are my Venus, my dear Marx."

The website of the party newspaper People's Daily said the song proves how Marx continues to appeal to young people and will "never completely go out of style."

The site said an accompanying video featuring midriff-baring dancers, a DJ and rappers in backward caps and jerseys has "gone viral."

Marx, who died in 1883, sits high in the pantheon of China's communist heroes, although it's unclear how much the author of famous lines such as "the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." resonates with young people raised on video games, hip-hop and western fashions.

China in recent years has turned to animated short films, rock bands and rap music to promote the Communist Party, government policies and the military. An armed forces recruiting video released earlier this month features a rap-rock soundtrack with lyrics such as "just waiting for the order to kill, kill, kill" over a frantic music-video style montage of aircraft, tanks and guns.

The state’s endorsement of a rap song follows last year’s high-profile banning of 120 similarly-styled songs. The difference? Those had no references to the coolness of Marx, rather, the scrubbed tracks were said to "promote obscenity, violence, crime, or threaten public morality."