Chinascope has translated some Internet and blog postings about today's China.
One is surprised at the candidness of the bloggers ...and their courage.
Of course, most of the issues raised exist elsewhere in the world and particularly in India, but here we have a relatively free Press which allows the 'masses' to record their frustrations, their anger and the excesses of the politicians and the civil servants (the formers usually take a beating during the next round of elections as the result of scams' coverage).
It is not yet the case in China which does not know elections.
I had already mentioned on this blog the funny case of: "The Château Lafite Rothschild that you drank was created on a ship."
Let us hope that the Indian Government will not put its threats of censuring social networks into practice, it would be loss for the society.
Though the people would certainly find a way to circumvent any censure.
It is not that easy to muzzle the truth in China and elsewhere.
It gives hope that we shall, one day, live in a better world.
Chinascope Editor’s Note:
Political jokes and sarcasm are a good resource for understanding a country’s political realities, public attitudes, and the nature of problems that affect that society’s stability. An article titled “An Outstanding Student’s Letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao,” which was published on Weibo.com, combined many of the microblog posts published throughout 2011 that exhibited China’s particular affinity for political sarcasm. Some of these postings can also be found on some official websites, such as the public forums for People’s Daily Online. This indicates that it is not just the public that understands the underlying issues; the government officials acknowledge them as well. A translation of a major part of the article follows. The Chinascope editor has added some helpful information so that Western readers may better understand the specific issues, the references, and the subtlety (although sometimes not so subtle) of Chinese humor.]
An Outstanding Student’s Letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao
December 16, 2011
Dear President and Prime Minister:
According to government statistics, in the past 30 years of reform and opening up, the items that have appreciated in value the most were: housing, cemetery plots, officials’ hats (Ed: that the content of officials’ hats appreciates is suggestive of the large amount of money people have to pay in bribes to secure a government position), moon cakes, and mistresses. The items that have depreciated in value the fastest were: professional titles, diplomas, morals, credibility, and the Renminbi.
China has become a nation of many groups, including the no-money-left-by-the-end-of-the-month group (those who spend but don’t plan), the eat-the-elderly group (those who don’t work but live off of their parent’s income), the low-paid-worker group, the living-in-a-tiny-residence group, the ant group, the complainer group, the con artist group, the chasing-self-interest group, and the hiding-marriage group (married people who appear single in public due to workplace or social pressure, such as not being able to afford a wedding).
This year, a “nail” resident (Ed: 钉子户, a new term in China referring to someone who refuses to give up his home when government officials appropriate the land in order to develop it) resorted to the most desperate solution; she ended her life (Ed: Tang Fuzhen set herself on fire). Her death did not prove the government’s barbarity and shamelessness, but only that gasoline could ignite.
In this year, Li Gang didn’t get famous. Li Gang’s son didn’t get famous either, but Li Gang’s son’s (words about his) dad got really famous. (Ed: Li Gang is the Deputy Director of the Beishi District Police Department, Baoding City, Hebei Province. While driving, his son hit and killed two college students. When the authorities came to get him, he infamously said, “Go ahead and sue me if you dare. My dad is Li Gang!” The sentence, “My dad is Li Gang,” has since been the subject of many sarcastic jokes on the Internet.)
Recently, the government issued telling statistics:
- If you are not one of the “big three” (a big official, a big celebrity, or someone with big money), what would it cost you to buy a 100-square-meter (900-square-feet) apartment in Beijing at a price of 3 million yuan (U.S. $480,000)?
- 1. If you are a farmer: Given an annual income of 400 yuan per Mu (0.17 acre), you would need to have farmed 3 Mus every year from the time of the Tang dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.) until now (assuming there was no disaster at any time).
- 2. If you are a factory worker: Given a monthly income of 1,500 yuan, you would need to have worked from the time of the Opium War (1839-1842) until now (with no weekends or holidays off).
- 3. If you are a white-collar worker: Given an annual income of 60,000 yuan, you would need to have earned the same salary since 1960, with no eating or drinking (Ed: saving every penny) (with no days off) for holidays.
- 4. If you are a thief: You would need to have committed the same crime 2,500 times and all of those crimes must have been against white-collar workers (Ed: Since the farmers and factory workers earn much less than white-collar workers, stealing from them would not result in much money) over about 30 years.
- 5. If you are a prostitute: You would have had to service 10,000 customers. Assuming you serviced one customer a day, you would have had to work for 10,000 days straight, from the age of 18 to the age of 46 (with no time off for your menstrual period).
- Expenses for such items as interior decoration, furniture, and appliances are not included for anyone above.
(Ed: In China, all the major banks are state-owned. Therefore, when there is a conflict between the bank and the customer, the government sides with the bank)
- 1. The customer receives counterfeit money from an ATM machine. That has nothing to do with the bank.
- 2. The customer loses money when his online banking account is hacked. That is the customer’s problem.
- 3. The bank gives too much money to the customer. The customer must return it.
- 4. The bank gives too little money to the customer. The bank is no longer responsible once (the customer) leaves the counter.
- 5. The customer receives less money due to an ATM problem. That’s the customer’s problem.
- 6. The customer receives too much money due to an ATM problem. The customer is stealing.
- 7. The President of Kaiping Bank, Guangdong Province, stole 400 million yuan (U.S. $63.5 million). He was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
- 8. Xu Ting, an ordinary person received an additional 70,000 yuan (U.S. $11,000) due to an ATM error. He was sentenced to life in prison.
China’s Current Situation:
- You can’t afford to have a baby – a C-section starts at 5,000 yuan.
- You can’t afford to go to school – choosing a school starts at 30,000 yuan.
- You can’t afford to have a residence – an apartment starts at over 20,000 yuan per square meter.
- It’s not that you can’t find a woman to marry, but without an apartment and a car, who will marry you?
- You can’t afford to support your family – your parents were laid off and you had a baby.
- You can’t afford to be sick – the charge for medicine is ten times the cost of producing it; it is too expensive.
- You can’t afford to live – if you work hard for a month, you only earn a little over 1,000 yuan.
- You can’t afford to die – cremation and burial costs 30,000 yuan or more.
- China’s Education System: Hope goes in, desperation comes out.
- Real estate: A tiny apartment goes in, a huge mortgage comes out.
- Performing arts: A virgin goes in, a prostitute comes out.
- The appeals office: Dou’e (Ed: 窦娥, the female protagonist in a well-known Chinese drama – some crooks set her up and an official sentenced her to death) goes in, an insane person comes out.
- The government: Hai Rui (Ed: 海瑞, an honest official from the Ming Dynasty who refused to become corrupt) goes in; He Shen (Ed: 和绅, a very corrupt official from the Ming Dynasty) comes out.
- A coal mine: Squat to go in; lay on your back (Ed: meaning you are dead) to come out.
- University: A beautiful girl goes in; a prostitute comes out.
- The stock market: Yang Baiwan (Ed: a rich person worth over 1 million yuan) goes in, Yang Bailao (Ed: 杨白劳, a poor peasant in a CCP drama in which the landlord took away his daughter because he was not able to pay back his debt to the landlord) comes out.
- A BMW goes in, a bicycle comes out.
- Suits go in, underwear comes out.
An ordinary person might think, “Why can’t I outwit the government?” Here are the reasons:
- If you reason with it, it acts like a villain.
- If you act like a villain, it talks to you about following the law.
- If you talk to it about following the law, it talks to you about politics.
- If you talk to it about politics, it talks to you about the unique national situation.
- If you talk to it about the unique national situation, it talks to you about catching up with international standards.
- If you talk to it about catching up international standards, it talks to you about culture (which is different from nation to nation).
- If you talk to it about culture, it talks to you about Confucius.
- If you talk to it about Confucius, it talks to you about the Big Me (Ed: what a person calls himself when bullying others).
- If you talk to it about the Big Me, it pretends to be a pitiful small man!
- (Poisoned) milk powder destroyed the 2000s generation (those born in the first decade of 2000);
- Exams destroyed the 90s; (Ed: Endless exams for students)
- Housing prices destroyed the 80s; (Ed: The people who started working then can’t afford housing.)
- Unemployment destroyed the 70s; (Ed: People in their 40s have been laid off.)
- Urban management staff destroyed the 60s; (Ed: Urban management, or 城管, the government staff that manages street order and minor local crimes.  It means that the government forced people in their 50s into retiring from their jobs and then would not allow them to set up vendor booths on the street in order to make a living.)
- Forced retirement destroyed the 50s;
- Forced-demolition destroyed the 40s;
- Medical insurance reform destroyed the 30s. (Ed: In the past, the work place guaranteed people medical insurance. In the past few years, China made a series of medical reforms to off-load the burden from state-owned enterprises onto the Bureau of Civil Affairs. As a result, some people lost their insurance or ended up with limited or greatly reduced coverage. The elderly were hit the hardest on this issue.)
People who are living and living very well attended the two Conferences (Ed: 两会, the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. These two Chinese characters used can also be interpreted as “know two things”).
Someone asked, “What is ‘knowing two things’?”
- A farmer representative replied, “Knowing how to raise a pig and how to mate.”
- A worker representative replied, “Knowing how to earn money and how to spend money.”
- An off-farm worker representative replied, “Knowing how to get the withheld money (Ed: It’s a common practice in China for businesses to withhold off-farm workers’ wages) and how to kneel (Ed: Some off-farm workers have no choice but to kneel to beg the business owners to give them their money).”
- A sleep-in housemaid representative replied, “Knowing how to sleep with the male master and how to make the bed.”
- A performer representative replied, “Knowing how to create publicity and how to sleep with (the big names or the rich people).”
- A businessman representative replied, “Knowing how to make money and how to avoid paying taxes.”
- An official representative replied, “Knowing how to lie and how to accept bribes.”
- An investor representative replied, “Knowing how to sell at loss and how to cry.”
When Gao Xiaosong (Ed: A Chinese musician who was put in prison for six months in 2011 for drunk driving) got out of prison, he wrote on his personal microblog, “November 8, the beginning of winter, my term (in prison) is over,; I am returning home. 184 days, the longest 6 months. How is every one? How is the outside world?”
“Teacher Xiaosong, in the past 6 months:
Laden was killed;
- Gaddafi also died;
- The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television restricted entertainment:
- Pan Currency was issued; (Ed: Pan Currency, or 潘币, is a unit for measuring the price of housing, suggested by Pan Shiyi, the Chairman of Soho China. 1 Pan equals 1,000 yuan per square meter. Pan Shiyi later introduced Pan Currency on his microblog using his face to replace Mao Zedong’s face on the Renminbi.)
- The urban management staff was still mighty;
- The national soccer team was still lame; (Ed: The Chinese are big soccer fans but, year after year, the national team’s performance in international competitions has disappointed them. On top of that, in recent years, many players have been involved in scandals.)
- When old people fell, still no one dared to help them;
- The high-speed train crash investigation yielded no result;
- The “da Vinci” brand furniture that you wanted to buy turned out to be fake; (Ed: “da Vinci” was a hyped-up “super Italian” furniture brand in China that commanded sky-high prices. It was found to be a fake brand (not from Italy) and the materials used were of poor quality.
- The Château Lafite Rothschild that you drank was created on a ship; (Ed: Suggesting it was not the real Château Lafite Rothschild from France, but fake.)
- We were all good, just didn’t have a ticket to board (Noah’s Ark) (Ed: A reference to 2012 being the end of the world). …
- High-speed trains in Wenzhou kissed each other,
- Subways in Shanghai rear-ended,
- A train in Beijing fell off the track,
- A ship in Hunan sank into the river,
- The FBC-1 (Flying Leopard) fighter jet crashed,
- To protect the South China Sea territory, we can only use our mouths, (Ed: Hinting the government only talks instead of taking real action)
- When they go to Thailand, humans become ghosts. (Ed: Referring to the 13 Chinese sailors who were murdered on the Mekong River in Thailand.
The differences between television and the computer (Ed: comparing the state-controlled media with the Internet):
When you turn on the computer, it seems that the society is so dark, officials are so corrupt, gangsters are on a rampage, people struggle to make ends meet, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be destroyed immediately.
When you turn on the television, it seems that society is in such harmony, people are so happy, the whole country is full of peace and prosperity, and the CCP will stay in power for a hundred years without any problem.
The computer shows you a picture of real life,
Television shows you a picture of wedding portrait. (Ed: Implying the television has “make-up” on and is highly illusionary.)
In the great People’s Republic of China:
Gasoline? We can’t afford to fill our tanks.
Roads? We can’t afford to walk on them. (Ed: Many local governments collect tolls for use of the roads)
School? We can’t afford to go to them.
Sickness? We can’t afford to be treated.
An apartment? We can’t afford to buy one.
Cemetery? We can’t afford buy a plot, so we can’t afford to die.
Vegetables? We can’t afford to eat.
Debts? We can’t afford to pay them back.
Lawsuits? We can’t afford to take anyone to court.
Officials? We can’t afford to offend them.
Wedding? We can’t afford to have one.
Children? We can’t afford to raise them.
Love? We can’t risk being hurt.
Consciences? Sorry, we don’t have any.
The old person who falls? We don’t help.
The child crushed by a car? We don’t save.
In China, we are still alive. Isn’t that amazing??????