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Zhang Han & Chen Qingqing, Beijing. Many Chinese netizens said they are amazed by the rich content on the Xuexiqiangguo app, which literally means “Learning builds a strong country,” noting the app is more informative and entertaining than merely serving as a channel to teach Party theory to members of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Hashtag “Xuexiqiangguo is a treasure app” entered the top 50 most searched phrases on twitter-like Sina Weibo on Tuesday, with  170 million reads as of press time.

Netizens expressed their surprise and excitement when they found online course videos, films, TV dramas and reality shows on the app.

The app, connected to website xuexi.com run by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, is “beyond my expectation as a channel introducing Party theories,” said a Beijing university student surnamed Zhang.

“The app pushes messages every morning and it introduces a Chinese traditional poetry lecture series to me, which is really, really fascinating,” Zhang told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The app actually provides some very good content and people should not think it’s only about Party theory for Party members, Zhang noted.

Shi Yunzhou, a student from Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that she watches news programs and has learned an online course about the analysis of public opinion in cyberspace on the app.

A Global Times reporter found online courses on the app ranging from ancient Chinese philosophy and English literature, to organic chemistry and linear algebra.

“Several reality shows made by China Central Television are on the app, including one about precious cultural relics in different museums,” said a Beijing-based civil servant, who watched the movie Operation Red Sea on the platform “without annoying advertisements.”

The app was made available online on January 1. The Global Times reporter found that its Android version has been downloaded 56 million times on the Huawei app store and nearly 20 million times on Vivo app store as of press time.

The operation team behind the app includes staff members from major state-owned media outlets such as CCTV, the Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily.

Major media outlets provide 60 to 70 news articles every day on the front page, about 30 of which are from provincial or lower level agencies. The app also automatically captures news from local media websites, a person close to the operation team told the Global Times on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Movies on the app are mainly sourced from 1905.com, a film service website operated by China Film Administration, he said, adding that some documentaries are from CCTV.

(In association with Global Times)