Video: Egyptian boy talking politics becomes Chinese internet sensation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 11:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 7:49pm

An Egyptian boy has become an internet sensation in China after a video in which he made a surprisingly eloquent case against authoritarian rule went viral in his home country and worldwide at the weekend.

A version of the interview with the presumably 12-year-old boy appeared with Chinese subtitles on Chinese microblogs on Monday evening. It ranked as the third most popular microblog post overnight until Tuesday, before it was quietly taken down from the ranking.

"I am here today to […] protest the confiscation of the constitution by one single party," Ali Ahmed told El Wady News in the video.

He then condemns the religious influence on policy under then-president Mohammed Mursi, who was deposed last week and has since been placed under house arrest. Ahmed also spoke against the subordinate role of women in politics.

But it was the boy's articulate political argument that struck a chord in China. "Where is the constitution that represents us?" he asked in Arabic.

On Chinese social media, one person commented: "The heavenly dynasty could learn from him," in a reference to China's Communist Party. 

"He has an Egyptian Dream," many wrote, borrowing from President Xi Jinping's "Chinese Dream".

The video, which first appeared last year, went viral worldwide after Reddit users spread it at the weekend, as Egypt continued to be gripped by deadly violence and political uncertainty. 

The video's appearance on Chinese microblogs coincides with an editorial in the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid newspaper on the mainland, which on Monday warned of "street movements" as a grave challenge to developing countries.

Egypt, and China, could not afford public protests, it argued, because these could lead to political strife and revolution and bring instability from which it "would be impossible to recover".

The article echoed the paper's stance during the Jasmine Revolution, which swept long-time president Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011. At the time, many Chinese dissidents and democracy advocates had been placed under house arrest to prevent similar street protests in China.

Some Chinese remained unconvinced. "If only Chinese children could talk like [Ahmed]," one person commented online.