In light of Xinhua’s recent embarrassing slideshow, the Shanghaiist would like to present a guide to the most bizarre side of China’s state owned media, the wonderful side-show slideshows of Xinhuanet.com
A Brief History of Xinhua and their Slideshows
Xinhua News Agency is the largest news outlet in China, with more than 10,000 employees. Founded in 1931, the government-run news source has been pushing bias and questionable reporting standards for more than 80 years. Xinhua is often touted as one of the mouth pieces for the Communist Party, and its articles and features are met with rigorous censorship before they are published.
More recently, it seems that Xinhua is seeking to expand beyond its image of a propagandist rag. In the past decade the power of Weibo and other internet based media have shown that the web is the future of journalism not just for China, but the whole world. The Xinhua behemoth has taken part by running a highly tuned website to deliver the news to readers in China and around the world.
Their webpage is multifaceted, with the purpose of publicizing China and reporting international news by “releasing 15,000 news stories a day, 12,000 of which are about China.” All of this makes Xinhua’s website “an important window to China; its politics, economy, society, science and technology, education and culture.”
Xinhua has been on the web since 1997, delivering up-to-the-minute news on issues in China and around the world. The staff even proudly claim that in 2003 it was the first website to alert the world of the U.S. air strikes that commenced the Iraq war.
Xinhua is an excellent source of news for all things China, but for a large and professional news organization the website has some features that are rather peculiar. Most of all, their choice of photos in particular is strange, and often quite hilarious.
Nearly every day Xinhuanet.com displays a slideshow usually consisting of 8 to 10 photos. Sometimes they are about normal news such as sports, news on the military or photo collections of events such as the recent China Joy.
Other slideshows featured on the site however verge far from the expected professionalism of a major news outlet. We saw earlier on the Shanghaiist that Xinhua like to offers different for the themes of their slideshows. But this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened and in fact it’s quite routine. For example, Xinhua in the past has brought outlandish slideshows featuring a snake vs. a crocodile, fat celebrities and cheerleader fails.
There are literally hundreds of these photos like this on Xinhua, some of which are creepy, a little absurd but most of all just plain funny. There really is a slideshow for everyone, and to save our readers some time, we here at the Shanghaiist sifted through the bulk of these photos to find the cream of the crop.
Everyone likes animals, so using them in a slide show is a pretty safe bet. As a China-based news agency, Xinhua was sure to create a slideshow for the beloved panda. The website is full of photos of cute animals, some that are smiling, or just doing funny things. You can have pets dressed like celebrities or celebrities that look animals. There are also dubious pictures of fat animals, so called monsters in animal world and some unlucky animals with mutations and deformities. These animals who got stuck in various objects also had some bad luck.
Top Pick- Brutal fights in the natural world
There is something amazing about seeing the predatory nature of the food chain in action. The slideshow has some violent pictures, but also includes a photoshopped fight between a brown bear and a tiger.
For better or worse, Xinhua absolutely loves women, and may be a bit obsessed with them. The majority of the slideshows on the website feature women and they are far too numerous to list them all here.
Examples of slides include the most beautiful women from China, Hollywood and Korea as well as best of lists from Victoria’s Secret, Christian Dior and other fashion shows. Some staff photographers even creepily took the liberty of capturing beautiful women in the streets of Sichuan and Beijing and the celebrities in see through dresses is also a bit questionable. The website women in all walks of life; drunk women, pregnant women, women who can stretch, women in the army, women doing the splits, women with dimples and obese women. The “If women ruled the world” slideshow is was quite funny but it seemed Xinhua ventured into the creepy zone too many times.
Top Pick- Charm of the Chinese Gown
This slideshow holds a high level of class and elegance above the others with 7 pictures of beautiful women in gorgeous dresses.
No category/ Unexplainable/ WTF
Xinhua likes to share photos that capture a lot of weird things. Weird baths, buildings, robots and car accidents and they even document some of the most horrible trees from around the world. But the website’s photos go from “slightly weird” to “bizarro world” without warning.
For example, “Funniest geniuses” and “Geniuses raise the biggest laugh” would seem to like they would actually be funny, but as you’ll see, rather than being humorous the slideshows just make you quietly mouth the words “what the fuck” as you try to make sense of these pictures. Further searches yield even more bizarre results, these six were by far the most absurd collections of photos on the site; “Holiday life of college students”, “Can you tolerate these people”, “Can you beat these guys”, “How to catch a moment”, “You can’t just understand them, can you?” and “A kiss you will never forget.”
“Real shots in mortuary you never watched” brings an all too morbid feeling to the website and should probably be avoided.
Although there is only one picture, the title is honest and the photo delivers an acceptable amount of surreal. Still a little confusing as to why an egg would have a tail though.
When Xinhua staff aren’t purposely trying to freak everyone out, sometimes they share some genuinely funny stuff. These people getting stuck in random places is pretty enjoyable and other slideshows such as “Unexpected and hilarious moments” and “Funny people, amusing moments” are collections which are also good for at least a laugh or two. The slideshow “Funny pictures, happy life” can be heartwarming but unfortunately “Life is full of joy” misses the mark. A lot of what Xinhua considers to be funny however is reminiscent of the boring material from those horrible email forwards we sometimes receives from relatives.
The awkwardness just oozes from these photos which makes both of these slideshows a pretty impressive collection of cringeworthy moments.
Most of these slides shows are from 2013 alone and Xinhua updates the website with new pictures frequently. Sometimes the photo features are a bit inappropriate (like “Unimaginable fatty persons around the world“) or used for light propaganda (like these pictures of China’s aircraft carrier) but all in all, observing Xinhua’s zany choices for photos are highly entertaining. Stay tuned for more and be sure to let us know in the comments which slideshow is your favourite.
All photos are from Xinhua.net