Chinese Communist Party indoctrination app dominates App Store
Pay attention. Your score matters.
Pay attention. Your score matters.

Image: screenshot / app store

By Jack Morse

The Chinese Communist Party’s indoctrination app is absolutely crushing it. 

Study the Great Nation, available in the App Store, allows users to spend hours a day learning about their Great Leader, taking quizzes to demonstrate their devotion to said leader, and parroting back their absolute favorite leader’s quotes. And, according to mobile app analytics company SensorTower, it’s the 9th most popular app worldwide in the App Store (not including Apple apps).   

That’s right, an app that the New York Times has described as “a kind of high-tech equivalent of Mao’s Little Red Book” that is reportedly forced on employees and students by their bosses and teachers had more App Store downloads than Gmail in the first quarter of 2019.

There it is.

Image: sensortower

The app was developed by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China. 

An App Store description of Study the Great Nation, translated via Google Translate, informs would-be users that “learning” will gain them points — as will logging in daily, browsing, answering questions, and sharing with others on the app.

A screenshot of the webpage for “Xi Time,” a show available via the Study the Great Nation app.

A screenshot of the webpage for “Xi Time,” a show available via the Study the Great Nation app.

Image: screenshot / Xi Time

And, if you don’t learn and gain points, the Times notes that you could be in for some trouble — with some employers reportedly even threatening to deduct pay. 

SEE ALSO: Here’s why San Francisco’s vote to ban facial-recognition tech matters

A translation of the app’s privacy policy informs potential users that, in order to access all of the app’s functions, they must submit their “mobile phone number, name, ID card information, industry type,” as well as “basic information” like “job title, gender, birthday, corporate authentication email, etc.”

So, you know, just a few bits of personal info. 

Chinese state media claimed that as of April the app had over 100 million downloads, the New York Times reports.

The gamification of the telescreen, it turns out, is a popular idea. 

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