Here is the news: students' CCTV spoof is web hit
A group of students in Shandong province have become an online hit with a homemade video lampooning the propaganda style of the state broadcasters' flagship news programmes.
Clips of Dormitory News Broadcast have clocked up more than 8 million hits on video sharing sites in just over a month.
The 14-minute parody sends up the formulaic, dated format of China Central Television's 7pm news, taking aim at self-important party officials and their minions, gushing reports of mainland politicians' visits to minor nations and dull party meetings, and state media's obsession with long lists of insignificant details.
State leaders' stilted delivery of dry-as-parchment speeches also comes under fire - with their underlings sporadically waking from slumber to clap and cheer ecstatically.
The piece is anchored by a stony-faced duo sat in front of chalk-drawn maps of China and the world, who read through the dormitory's absurd news stories at high speed, maintaining perfectly deadpan expressions throughout.
The students, said in some of the postings to be attending Liaocheng University, in western Shandong, are by no means the first young mainlanders to spoof the CCTV news programme, which has long been the target of urbanites' disdainful wit.
However, the huge number of views for this latest video suggests the group has struck a chord with teenagers.
In one segment, the student dormitory's top official pays a 'formal friendly visit' to another hall, and is greeted by beaming dignitaries waving Chinese flags and their own banner - a yellow skull-and-crossbones.
Another item mocks mainland media's reporting of natural disasters by recounting a 'major safety accident', a burst pipe in one of the toilets that drowned a number of cockroaches. Heroic firefighters conduct a dramatic rescue operation, before a pot-bellied official arrives 'at the first moment' to inspect the proceedings.
The video has drawn an outpouring of praise from internet users on video-sharing sites.
'I have already watched this many times. Liaocheng university students are just too talented,' wrote one viewer with the username 'Big Garlic Little Garlic' below one posting of the video on Youku.
Others expressed surprise that the video had not fallen foul of the mainland's infamous internet censors.
'It's surprising that this hasn't been harmonised,' wrote one person posting under the name Fei Ruide, using a popular euphemism for the regular purging of sensitive content from mainland websites.