Shiny happy people holding hands / Shiny happy people laughing / Everyone around, love them, love them.

The lyrics performed by Michael Stipe in the 1991 R.E.M. song “Shiny Happy People” may sound like upbeat pop, but they were actually inspired by Chinese propaganda designed to paint a rosy picture in the wake of Tiananmen Square massacre.

Well, the Chinese government is at it again, this time framing its People’s Liberation Army as a humanitarian force for global peace in a brief film called “Here I Am.”

The two-minute video, which switches back and forth from animation to live footage, is a cartoonish depiction of the country’s military as a saintly, selfless group of missionaries.

“We are always here awaiting orders,” the video’s narrator says. “Regardless of perils, undaunted by dangers, we deliver hope in hard times. We extend benevolence and love across the oceans and we uphold justice and peace.”

Alas, on Sunday the U.S. released footage of a Chinese warship crossing paths with a U.S. destroyer in a dangerous maneuver. And on May 26, a Chinese fighter jet flying over the South China Sea performed a maneuver near a U.S. aircraft in international airspace that was deemed “unnecessarily aggressive.”

Shiny happy soldiers indeed.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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