“Liziqi” and “Dianxi Xiaoge” are two YouTube channels.  The Q’s and X’s give away their headquarters’ locations: China.  But isn’t YouTube banned in China?

Liziqi (李子柒) with 12.1M subscribers joined YouTube on August 21, 2017. April 22nd’s New York Times article entitled “The Reclusive Food Celebrity Li Ziqi Is My Quarantine Queen” led me to the channel, and I was mesmerized upon first view: Pricked by a bewildering sensation of jealousy that I seldom experience, the cause of which I blamed COVID-19, of course. Like countless youth during China’s economic boom, Li ZiQi left rural SiChuan Province at the age of 14 to work in the city, including a stint as a DJ at night clubs. In 2012 she returned home to care for her aging grandparents who once sheltered her from a wicked stepmother’s cruelty. Her four-minute-long ”How To Make A Chinese Herbal Tea?” video has 10M views, most of which were garnered within a month after it was uploaded in August, 2018.

For the holidays Liziqi prepares traditional dishes with the freshest ingredients. She lives “The Life of Cucumber” and “The Life of Rapeseed Oil”, while I reminisce through photos taken during my last visit to AnHui Province when dazzling yellow rapeseed blossom invaded fields of immensity. How many times has she worn masks because of COVID-19? Probably not once. Nature’s beauties fuel her videos and boost equanimity – a rare sensation during all pandemics.

A photo of a valley full of yellow rapeseed flowers.

Some viewers started questioning Liziqi’s authenticity, especially after she uploaded the “Using Bamboo To Make Some Sophisticated Old Furniture – Bamboo Sofa” video. Moreover, she never allows other media entities to film her while working. If I could give Liziqi some advice, it would be: Leave the heavy-duty projects to other YouTubers like the elderly Grandpa Amu (joined on January 18, 2018, with 1.24M subscribers currently, and wrong location specified on their YouTube about page)!

Dianxi Xiaoge (滇西小哥) is the nickname Miss Dong MeiHua gave herself when she joined YouTube on July 24, 2018. A police academy graduate, Dianxi Xiaoge worked in law enforcement for some years. In 2016 she returned to western YunNan Province, a rural village with 140 families.

A photo of pink blossoms in front of a field of yellow rapeseed flowers.

With “copycat” being the pre-judgmental impression, I hesitated watching Dianxi Xiaoge’s work at first. Now I cherish the candor and sense of community that pervade her videos. Many viewers also enjoy seeing Dianxi Xiaoge’s Alaskan malamute DaWang – a breed of which she first became aware in the city, then promised herself to acquire in this lifetime – does this count as a dream come true? Although Dianxi Xiaoge lives in YunNan Province, she did not brew pu-erh in the six-minute-long ”Two Pots of Tea For The Muggy Late Summer!” video. Instead it’s a tea out of my wildest imagination!

If China bans YouTube, shouldn’t Chinese YouTubers be deemed law offenders? Perhaps this is yet another channel and double standard that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) implements to conquer the world.

The recent natural disasters, mainly floods, devastated SiChuan and YunNan Provinces. Both Dianxi Xiaoge and Liqizi continue to upload new videos on weekly basis. Nature is their guardian.

Images provided and copyright held by author