Joke of the Week
@ZYXTQ writes: “Ah Q was overjoyed after he saw a slogan reading ‘Rule the Nation by Law’ on a power pole. He immediately lodged a lawsuit against his boss and landlord Mr. Zhao for previous injustices. However, after the judge read the indictment, he ordered Ah Q out of court, shouting: ‘Get out of here and read again what is on the pole!’ Ah Q returned to the pole, finally finding that before the words ‘Rule the Nation by Law,’ there were the words: ‘Under the Leadership of Mr. Zhao.'”
The figures in this joke are from the famous novella “The True Story of Ah Q” by the modern Chinese writer Lu Xun. Ah Q stands in for Chinese people from the bottom rungs of society, while Mr. Zhao is a coded reference to Party officials.
Best of Weibo
On China’s ‘middle class’
@MyDF writes: “Those without political rights should never be called ‘middle class.’ Instead, they should be called ‘the group with middle-level household income.'”
On the regime’s anti-Japanese propaganda
@Zhang Zixu writes: “It was said that Pavlov had a dog which salivated upon a buzzer. Many Chinese are also subject to respondent conditioning whenever they hear the word ‘Japanese,’ as a result of the Party’s long-term ‘training.'”
The China Discipline Inspection Supervision Newspaper recently reported the fall of Huang Boqing, former head of the Guangdong Provincial Water Resource Department. Huang received bribes totaling 200 million yuan ($31 million). According to the report, Huang had received so many kickbacks that he sometimes could not tell the source of bribes. On the other hand, if someone “forgot the rule” and did not give kickbacks to him, their names were clearly remembered by Huang, who would give them a hard time as punishment.
In response, an anonymous netizen wrote: “The truth is, such rules are present within most of China’s governmental departments and state-owned enterprises. If you give ‘gifts’ to officials, they may not even remember your name—but you’re safe. If you don’t do that, they will clearly remember your name and you’re done for. Receiving bribes of 200 million yuan does much more harm to our society than the embezzled money itself.”
‘He Burned Himself’
On Sept. 14, Zhang Jimin, a villager in Linyi City of Shandong Province, was burned to death in his home while a demolition squad was present. Witnesses said that about 50 thugs—potentially hired by developers working with local officials—sealed off Zhang’s house and tossed stones, bricks and bottles with yellow liquid [i.e. gasoline] into the yard. “They kept throwing things and nobody was able to leave.” The yard was soon ablaze, with flames leaping four or five meters high.
After Zhang died in the fire, local police detained several people involved in the incident. An investigation team was set up to look into the case. But after five days, the official Weibo account of Pingyi County announced that the fire was caused by Zhang Jimin himself, and the demolition squad attempted to put it out. This version of events contradicts numerous other witnesses.
In a television interview, a villager says: “All around were thugs, over 30 of them.” Journalist: who lit the fire? “It could not be Zhang himself. Things that were burned outside were not burned inside. Some places had fire and some others did not. There was no fire inside.”
The claim that Zhang burned himself soon drew mockery from Chinese netizens. One wrote: “I was so moved that the demolition squad turned out to be heroic firemen.” Another: “Did the man set his own house on fire to warm himself?”
Others connected the episode to the infamous “Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident” of 2001, widely believed to be a hoax by propaganda authorities to frame and further persecute practitioners of Falun Gong.