It starts in night vision. You sprint across an airport runway, ducking to avoid bombs as spotlights flash across the sky and a plane heads toward you at terrifying speed. Then everything goes black.
This isn’t “Call of Duty,” and your character isn’t dead: It’s an outrageous Chinese video imagining a Chinese attack on a military base, which, for the record, looks like a cross between Okinawa and the corn fields of Iowa. It’s not made explicitly clear that the animated attack is on the U.S. military, but the similarities between the equipment are striking. The video’s YouTube version was published on Aug. 28, and by Friday afternoon had only been viewed 92,000 times.
The clip opens with just over 10 seconds of what appears to be an American attack on a Chinese base, then devotes more than five full minutes to the People’s Liberation Army’s response, which includes images of ballistic missiles being launched, submarines being sunk, and fighter jets being launched off of a ship. After nearly everything has been destroyed, a Chinese flag is raised over what’s left of the island base, and Chinese text declaring that they “love peace” but are prepared for war scrolls across the screen.
The identity of the makers of the video, which uses graphics that look like they belong in an early 2000s PlayStation game, is still not entirely clear. A blog post on the Council on Foreign Relations’ website was quick to call it a production of the PLA, but it is more likely the work of Chinese company Tencent, credited at the end.
Foreign Policy compiled five of the strange video’s most dramatic moments, including the total detonation of a massive ship and a giant cartoon fist slamming down on a table.
The video opens in night vision as you and your comrades sprint to escape an attack.
Soon after, a giant fist slams down on a table, in what appears to signal approval for a Chinese retaliation.
Then, in clear skies, a dramatic takeoff from an aircraft carrier.
The complete obliteration of what appears to be an American ship.
And of course, the closing scene of the PLA’s victory, where a Chinese flag is raised into the sunset.
Photo credit: Screengrabs