Brands and Propaganda Outlets Go Poetic for Valentine’s Day in China

Valentine's Day is starting to pick up speed in China, with trending Weibo posts and cheeky advertising campaigns

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4:28 AM HKT, Fri February 15, 2019 1 mins read

Love is in the air, as Valentine’s Day starts edging its way into China. Traditionally, the Western Christian festival hasn’t received much attention in the Mainland, which has its own rich tradition of romance in the form of Qixi Festival. That’s where folks celebrate the annual reunion of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, and the true love it represents. Ok, maybe not exactly the same thing, but the sentiment is there. We even made a romantic mixtape for the occasion.

But today, the ever-passionate younger generation is being pulled into the Western-style, chocolate-and-roses-based holiday — especially in China’s top tier cities. And while Chinese authorities have begun reject the advances of certain “foreign holidays” such as Halloween, 情人节 qingrenjie (lover’s festival, as V-Day is known here) has been all over social media today, with multiple Valentine’s Day-related items reaching the trending top ten on Twitter-like platform Weibo (the hashtag “This is How I Spent Valentine’s Day” has received over 2.5 billion views).

One of the more prominent posts, unexpectedly, comes from Party-promoting paper People’s Daily, who put together a surprisingly cute collection of virtual letters, all beginning with “Not”. The nine letters, with titles such as Not Petty and Not Disappointing, point out what constitutes a true, loving relationship. At least, as defined in the eyes of the CCCP’s official newspaper outlet: “The best kind of love isn’t perfect or free of regret, but after it comes, it never leaves you.”

Perhaps even more unexpectedly, the other trending Valentine’s Day item comes to us from Disney Channel original series Wizards of Waverly Place. In a short clip, which has been posted all over Weibo today, Selena Gomez demonstrates incredible foresight and ingenuity:

“How tragic, I didn’t prepare a gift for myself this year,” reads the top comment.

“I planted a rose seed!” reads another. “At this time next year I can give it to myself.”

The lonely hearts of Weibo aren’t the only ones jumping on Valentine’s Day. As with any holiday, annual event, or date marked by a set of loosely coordinated digits, Chinese brands have been eager to get in on the action.

Jiang Xiao Bai, a baijiu liquor company, advertised a bottle that you can address to your partner personally. Because what’s classier than downing a bottle of baijiu with your lover and feeling less-than-optimal the next day?

Meizu, a phone company, takes a bit of a warmer approach. The text reads, “Leave my phone behind, it’ll be hard for a day. Leave you behind, it’ll be hard for a lifetime.”

Aww… sort of?

Qixi Festival might already be “Chinese Valentine’s Day”, but really, the more the merrier. After all, we could all use a little more love in our lives.

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