World of Weibo

Beida vs Yale

Two promotional clips from Peking University and Yale University were among the most talked-about topics online

Two promotional clips from Peking University (called Beida in Chinese) and Yale University were among the most talked-about topics online in recent weeks.

Even though both videos were made several years ago, they have attracted nearly 10,000 posts on Sina Weibo, as netizens argue which video better depicts the schools’ academic mission.

WiC watched both clips and we agree with netizens that the Beida video feels like tourism promotion (there are a lots of lingering shots of the scenic campus and its historical architecture). But Yale’s feels like an episode from the US hit show Glee (students even belt out a musical number in the middle of the video).

One netizen noted: “My 5-month-old’s reactions pretty much sums it up: when I play the Yale video the little one claps along happily. But when I play the one from Beida, he quickly falls asleep.”

Another one wrote: “Even though Yale was established before Beida, it didn’t flaunt its history and famous alumni like Beida. It’s sad how China’s most famous university feels the need to prove its worth.”

“Judging from the two videos, Yale’s advantage is in the students, while Beida’s advantage is in scenery; Yale’s confidence is in its present, Beida’s confidence is in its past,” another netizen commented.

In response to the criticism, Chen Yu, who was responsible for directing Beida’s video, says it is unfair to compare the two presentations because they’re designed for different purposes. Beida’s video is made to reflect the legacy of the school, whereas Yale’s is a publicity effort to attract student enrolment from around the world.

Still, many netizens have been supportive of the Beida production, saying that it’s stylish and rich in history. Some say the difference between the two is essentially the cultural difference between the East and the West. “I like both videos. One is full of passion and the other is more restrained. One is like a musical and the other is an ink painting. It is an expression of East and West cultures,” one netizen noted.

Beida Promotional Video

Yale Promotional Video


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