By Erik Crouch
January’s Gangnam Style migrant worker protest was only the beginning. In garb that can only be described as clear-intentioned and solemn, a group of migrant workers gathered outside of the China National Radio headquarters to protest their withheld wages on January 31. The protestors dressed as Angry Birds, Garfield, Donald Duck, and the Chinese God of Wealth, because nothing nothing says “unambiguous display of anger against migrant-payment policies” like iPhone games, American cartoons, Disney, and Cai Shen (actually, the last one isn’t too far off).
OffBeatChina speculates that the new wave of bizarre protests in China is part of an effort to gain viral internet status:
Getting attention online is a much more effective way to have their due compensation paid back than to file a case to the court. These migrant workers in cartoon costumes are not the first ones who want to go viral online and use netizens’ support as a leverage.
In October, 2012, migrant workers from Tianjin held a press conference of the Ministry of Migrant Worker Affairs, using official rhetoric that closely resembled China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ routine press conference. They received their overdue compensation after the press conference video went viral online.
If the new goal of protestors is to become internet-phenomena, we can surely expect to see some strange things to come. Now that protestors have already mimicked YouTube’s #1 video (Gangnam Style), it’s only a matter of time before they start moving down the list: when Beijing is full of protestors singing “Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris” remember that you read it here first.
Images via Xinhuanet