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Youth organization reaches out to web influencers

By LI LEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-08-19 07:46

Viya

The All-China Youth Federation, a youth organization whose members have typically come from elites in government offices, State-owned firms and colleges, is reaching out to some of China's most popular livestreamers, video bloggers and hip-pop dancers.

Among them is Li Ziqi, a video blogger with 11.9 million followers on YouTube and 26 million on the Sina Weibo microblogging service. The 30-year-old has soared to fame over the past year by vlogging about traditional food and rural life.

Viya, 35, a youth-icon-turned-livestreamer on e-commerce platform Taobao, was also elected a member. She is a top seller of products ranging from cosmetics to farm produce during marathon livestreaming sessions, and has amassed hundreds of millions of fans, mostly young urbanites. She also provided funding to 37 poor rural schools as part of her charity endeavors.

Membership in the federation, a mass organization guided by the Communist Party of China, was also extended to hip-pop dancer Ban Changfei in Guizhou province and graffiti artist Jiang Heng in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The move defies the stereotype that members should be office workers in suits.

The inclusion of web celebrities and nonmainstream artists has sparked online discussions over eligibility. But Lian Si, a member of the federation's standing committee and a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the move has bolstered the representativeness of established youth organizations.

"It also offered a chance for such organizations to learn about new trends in youth communities," he said, adding they "should reflect the diversity of youthful populations".

Lian, who has coached new ACYF members, said the percentage of positions held by farmers and factory workers has grown over the past five years, as has the proportion held by food delivery workers and those employed by the gig economy. That has given voice to previously underrepresented groups, he said.

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