CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (12/11/2019 Wed.)


Podcast: Story in the Story (12/11/2019 Wed.)

People's Daily app

01:58, December 11, 2019


From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

Recently, short videos of senior vloggers have gone viral on video sharing apps, such as Douyin, known as TikTok overseas, and Kuaishou, and they are now becoming much more visible on such apps.

Senior citizens' short videos of their daily lives are winning over millions of viewers who are drawn by the positive attitude to life shown by the country's elderly population. On top of that, more elderly people making an income through short videos could tackle China's aging population problem.

A 60-year-old bodybuilder, who has a perfectly lean and muscular body with a well-defined six-pack, is doing pull-ups on a horizontal bar.

The man called Liu Sheng, who is an internet celebrity, has gained nearly one million followers on Kuaishou, a popular short video platform in China, with an account called "Zui Chao Liu Lao Tou (most fashionable old man Liu)."

"My videos are recorded by my daughter," said Liu. "Because I have been working out for more than 40 years, my daughter hopes to show my physique to more people," he said.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how elderly online personalities are spreading positive energy much better than the young.


Hu Hui, who is over 80 years old, livestreams an introduction to a tourist destination called Xizha in Tongxiang county, Wuzhen in East China's Zhejiang Province. (Photo: VCG)

Gan Yongjun's 62-year-old father is another internet celebrity from Guilin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He has a Kuaishou account named "Shanmu Dashu (Shanmu uncle)" with almost two million followers.

"I am the one who records my father's videos," said Gan. "He used to be a carpenter, but quit his job when machine production became widespread."

Gan said that because video sharing apps have become so popular, he started to shoot videos of his father doing manual work, such as making wooden models of cars, airplanes, TVs and mobile phones, as well as some toys for his grandchildren.

"I was only doing this for fun and I never thought my father's videos could gain so many fans on the internet," Gan noted, adding that most of his father's followers are people between the ages of 10 and 40.

Gan believes the reason his father has become an internet celebrity is because the videos show the reality of older people's lives.

"Most of the seniors in the village just play card games or relax on loungers during their spare time," Gan said. "I hope that we can show a new lifestyle for elderly people."

Clicks mean profits, but a vlogger on Kuaishou surnamed Liu said that they normally do not receive remuneration from the platform no matter how many views or likes they get from users. Instead, Liu said the main profits come from the virtual gifts from fans, but refused to reveal the exact number.


Hu Hui dances with her friends, which she videos and posts online, in Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang Province in June 2018. (Photo: VCG)

Zhu Wei, a communication researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that the presence and prevalence of older online personalities play a positive role in the re-employment of the elderly and helps China confront the challenge of the coming aging society.

China had 249 million people above 60 years of age by the end of 2018. How senior citizens live their lives has become a serious concern for the whole of society.

A report released by China's National Bureau of Statistics said China will grow from an adult society to an aged society in just 18 years.

"Making money is a direct benefit for these older content creators. Besides that, it can inspire and promote growth in the emotional, material and cultural lives of the elderly. Elderly people can make money, gain respect and increase their social status through displaying skills gathered over a lifetime on live broadcasts and short videos, which is a positive way of dealing with an aging society," Zhu said.

Short videos also serve as a channel for highly educated older people to hand down their professional knowledge.

In addition to live broadcasts, online personalities also produce advertisements and sell goods.

The difference between old and young online personalities is a lack of pretentiousness, Zhu noted, adding that many of the most popular elderly online personalities earn big bucks, but still dress and speak plainly.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Da Hang. Music by: Text from Global Times.)

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