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Tales of creativity and compassion

By Meng Wenjie | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-17 06:01
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Bilibili's 2023 Power Up ceremony celebrated top content creators, recognizing diverse talents shaping China's digital landscape, Meng Wenjie reports.

Zhu Ruoxuan, known as "Duoduo Hualin", explores Chinese women's evolution in terms of fashion and makeup. [Photo provided to China Daily]

On Jan 6, Bilibili, a prominent Chinese video platform, hosted its annual Bilibili Power Up ceremony, celebrating the top 100 content creators, known as "uploaders", on the platform in 2023.

Among the winners was Zhu Ruoxuan, a previous recipient of the award in 2021, following her two years as a vlogger.

Born in 1998, Zhu began sharing her life through videos in 2019 under the moniker "Duoduo Hualin", initially focusing on makeup tutorials. It wasn't until 2021 that she gained widespread attention with a video depicting the evolution of ordinary Chinese women's appearance and mindset from the 1920s to the 2020s, which garnered over 10 million views on Bilibili.

"The year 2021 marked the centennial of the founding of the Communist Party of China," Zhu said. "So, I combined my passion for fashion and makeup to celebrate it."

In the video, she also portrayed the facial expressions of women from different time periods, capturing their uncertainty in the 1920s, their helplessness during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), and their confidence as female workers in the 1950s after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Despite a lack of formal acting training, Zhu studied women in old photos and movies instead to imitate their expressions, striving for accuracy.

Over time, Zhu's videos shifted to an even greater focus on women, exploring other changes in women's images from the past to the present.

Since last year, she's started paying more attention to current social phenomena and the issues women face. "I think it's a necessary growth both for myself and my creation," she said.

One of Zhu's productions from last year highlights the transformation of Chinese women's hairstyles. At the end of the video, she depicted a character with pink hair, inspired by Zheng Linghua, a 23-year-old who faced cyberbullying due to her hairstyle and tragically ended her life while battling depression in January 2023.

"I want everyone to see that online violence can be fatal," Zhu said.

Zhu's recent videos demonstrate a more compassionate approach toward women from historical periods. For instance, she released an anti-war video on Dec 13, the annual National Memorial Day for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre, portraying the transformation of an ordinary Chinese woman before and after the massacre. This video, which took two months to create, drew inspiration from Iris Chang's book The Rape of Nanking, in which women cut their hair short to disguise themselves as men during the war.

As a native of Nanjing, Zhu felt a deep connection to the subject matter, and as a woman, she naturally focuses more on topics related to women. "I want to express my observations and thoughts through my videos," she said.

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