Li Ziqi, Youtuber with Most Chinese-Language Subscribers, While Youtube Blocked in China


Li Ziqi in one of his videos on his YouTube channel
Li Ziqi in one of his videos on his YouTube channel (YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)

The record has been officially on the Guinness Book website since February 3, for the highest number of subscribers for a Chinese-language Youtube channel, a feat when you consider that Youtube is one of the blocked sites in China. 14.2 million people therefore follow the videos of Li Ziqi, 30, a star who has accumulated 2 billion views in just two years of presence on Youtube. A craze that can be explained by the atmosphere it offers, a very relaxing, bucolic, dreamlike atmosphere.

Li Ziqi films herself at her home in the countryside in Sichuan province, portraying her everyday life, and advocating for sobriety, home-made, self-sufficiency. We see her harvesting fruit in her orchard, baking her bread in an oven she made herself, making her clothes, dyeing a dress with products found in the forest, making lipstick from petals of roses. It’s fascinating, it’s very beautiful to watch, it’s like a fairy tale, all looking simple and light. Even more so as her personal touch is not speaking. Or very little. She doesn’t explain, she shows. Result: what we hear is especially the birds singing, the sound of the wind in the cherry blossoms, that of the knife which cuts, of the pestle in the mortar.

It’s calming. The complete reverse of other Chinese, ultra-consumer and high-vitamin chains. There all is order and beauty, and it is done on purpose, of course. Because, as the South China Morning Post explains, it was the frenzy of city life that inspired Li Ziqi. Orphaned at 6, she was brought up by her grandmother in the village before leaving for the city, like many young people, in Mianyang, 5 million inhabitants, to find work. There, she did odd jobs as an electrician, waitress, DJ, and after eight years of disillusionment, she ended up returning to the country. So began his other life, that of a videographer with the success we know today.

A success praised by the Chinese government as a model for young people. Which is quite absurd after all, since all of his messages go against Xi Jinping’s growth objectives: not to buy anything new, to produce locally, to manufacture what you need yourself. In Li Ziqi’s world, there are no factories, no cars, no shopping malls. And that’s probably why it likes it, to dream, to think it would be good, that it looks possible, at least for the duration of a video.


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