On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver used an annoying song performed by children to warn viewers about Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power and the cult of personality that surrounds him.
In a segment focusing solely on Xi — referred to by Chinese state media as Xi Dada, or "Big Uncle Xi" — Oliver discussed how he's riding high on the economic wave that preceded him, and two major projects: the Belt and Road initiative, which involves spending $1 trillion on infrastructure in more than 60 countries to reshape global trade with China in the middle of it all, and a crackdown on political corruption.
Those are the things that Xi wants you to know, Oliver said, not that his anti-corruption purge has targeted his rivals, with some being tortured, and that Xi "has clamped down noticeably on any form of dissent whatsoever." That includes having online censors ban phrases like "personality cult" and references to Winnie the Pooh, since some people like to mock Xi by saying he resembles everyone's favorite pantsless bear.
There's more, Oliver warns — the Chinese government is giving every citizen a social credit score, and if you're docked enough points, maybe for fraud or smoking in a non-smoking section, you won't be able to have high-speed internet or purchase plane or train tickets. As Xi is trying to expand his global influence, he's becoming more authoritarian, but don't just listen to Oliver — take it from the children he hired to sing a song all about Xi's dark side, cribbed from China's own propaganda film touting the Belt and Road initiative. Watch the video (with cursing) below, and get ready to spend all Monday humming that irritating ditty. Catherine Garcia