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China turned clapping for its president into a virtual game

The Chinese government won’t let its citizens Google search, like a  Facebook post, or watch a YouTube video — but if people want to virtually clap for their president’s speech, a new game them covered.

by David Gilbert
Oct 19 2017, 11:48am

The Chinese government won’t let its citizens Google search, like a Facebook post, or watch a YouTube video — but if people want to virtually clap for their president’s speech, a new game has them covered.

Chinese technology company Tencent released an app Wednesday that challenges citizens to applaud as fast as possible for President Xi Jinping, pitting their scores against those of their family and friends to see who’s the most loyal subject.

The game’s release coincided with the opening of the 19th Communist Party Congress, where Xi gave a marathon three-and-a-half-hour oration. For any citizens who missed the speech and felt they let their country down, the new game lets them make amends.

To play the game — entitled “Excellent Speech: Clap for Xi Jinping” — users watch a short clip of the speech where the president explains the mission of the Communist Party of China: to strive for the happiness and the rise of the Chinese people. Players then have 18 seconds to register as many claps as possible by tapping a big yellow button on the bottom of the screen.

The game has become hugely popular, particularly on Tencent’s WeChat messaging platform. It’s already garnered over 1.1 billion cumulative claps for Xi since its release on October 18.

But it’s possible not all uses are so enthusiastic. According to What’s on Weibo, a social media news and monitoring website, the game was played 860 million times by Thursday morning. That means a lot of players didn’t bother clapping at all.

The game isn’t just limited to Chinese citizens either — simply tap on this link on mobile to listen to Xi’s speech and see if you can beat VICE News’ record of 160 claps. Some users on WeChat claim a “clap rate” of 1,695.

Since Tencent gives the Chinese government relatively unfettered access to its data, Beijing may be able to see just who has clapped for the president — and how enthusiastically they clapped.

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