Banned Video: Dragon’s Take on the Two Sessions (Translated)

Dragon’s Laugh (龙颜大悦) is an online volunteer production group that puts together weekly mash-up videos to distribute online. In operation since June 2010, the group of over 300 volunteers has put together 39 videos. These videos have enjoyed wide popularity among netizens and have also been reported by official newspapers and TV stations all over the country, including; Beijing Evening News, Shanghai News Morning Post, and China Youth Daily. Their latest production provides the view from cyberspace of the recent NPC/CPPCC meetings, with the dialogue mostly coming from real comments posted online on Sina Microblog or other online forums. Put together, it provides a 15-minute overview of netizens’ views of the meetings. This video is currently banned from all video-sharing websites inside of China. The full video is below with English subtitles provided by CDT.

(Please make sure the small “cc” button on the lower bar is red in order to see the subtitles. If not, please click to switch it on)

Dragon’s Take on the Two Sessions–Shocking Proposals Spark Use of the “Shouting Font”

Dragon: Hello and good evening, you’re watching Dragon’s Laugh  I am your host, Dragon.

Turtle: Hello everyone.  I am your host, Turtle.  Today is March 14, 2011, a fine day for conducting meetings.

Dragon: The Fourth Plenary Session of the 11th People’s Congress and the Fourth Plenary Session of the 11th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, commonly known as the “Two Sessions,” opened solemnly yesterday in Beijing.  This was a truly harmonious . . .

Turtle: Interrupting with breaking news: At 12:58 a.m. on March 10, 2011, Yingjiang County in our nation’s province of Yunnan experienced an earthquake that measured 5.8 on the Richter scale.  The earthquake caused more than twenty deaths, and more than 200 people were injured.  Currently the rescue operations are basically completed and the rebuilding efforts are going forward in an orderly manner.

Dragon: During the “Two Sessions,” representatives from all provinces, autonomous regions, directly governed cities and special administrative regions, and who come from all walks of life, gathered together as a body to embellish upon the quality of people’s lives and to manufacture a harmonious society . . .

小 龟:再插播一条紧急新闻,北京时间3月11日13时46分,日本发生9.0级地震,震中位于日本本州岛仙台港以东130公里处,地震引发海啸,部分地区被 大水淹没,并引发大规模火灾及核电站泄露等事故,包括我国在内的多个国家相继发布海啸预警,目前,灾区的救援工作正在进行,伤亡人数还在增加。
Turtle: Interrupting with more breaking news: At 1:46 p.m. on March 11, Japan experienced a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.  The epicenter was located 130 kilometers off the coast of Japan’s main island, across from the city of Sendai.  The earthquake set off a tsunami, flooding part of the region.  It also caused large scale fires and accidents such as the leakage of radiation from a nuclear power plant.  A number of nations, including our own, sent out tsunami warnings.  Currently, rescue operations are underway while the number of dead and injured continues to increase.

Dragon: (whispering) Geez, Turtle, these huge catastrophes one after another–how come I haven’t heard about any of this??

Turtle: Well Dragon, it’s probably because you don’t read the paper.

Dragon: No, I read the paper.  Just this morning I read the headline in the 50 Cent Morning Post.  The headline was “Two Sessions working to help build a harmonious society: vendors must use two eggs in their millet pancakes.”

Turtle: Even though there has been an unending series of disasters, the headlines in every major paper are all about the Two Sessions.  Every radio and television station have filled their prime-time with bland reports about the Two Sessions.  [sigh]  It’s hard to tell what disaster is worse, the earthquakes or the reporting.

Dragon: [Sigh] Just forget about it.  What’s the use of complaining?  Best to focus on what’s productive.  Anyway, the entire staff of the Dragon’s Laugh program wishes the earthquake survivors the best of luck; we hope that you get better soon and that you can rebuild your homes and communities quickly.

While we cannot forget that there’s a history between our two nations; nevertheless, in the face of natural disaster, humanity is not divided by borders.  Respect life.  Pray for peace.

Turtle: Okay, coming up let’s see what surprises this year’s Two Sessions has brought us.

Dragon: Every year during the Two Sessions, there are always a great number of outrageous comments that are made.  These comments constantly challenge our ability to cope with their outrageousness.  This year’s Two Sessions was truly a groundbreaking and sumptuous feast of such outrageous comments.

Ma Weihua, President and CEO of China Merchants Bank expressed his opinion at the People’s Political Consultative Conference that inflation in the housing market was simply a problem related to monetary policy.  That is because ordinary people have too much money in their hands.  This statement aroused the anger of many netizens.  Numbers of these netizens expressed their opinion, one after another, that:

Turtle (shouting):

Too much money my ass!!!

The cost of fuel, grain, oil, salt, even the cost of public toilets has gone up–the only thing that hasn’t gone up are people’s wages!!!

Hey Mr. Ma, you’re the president of a bank–with the money you have to spare you could spread it down to be used as a carpet for the forbidden city!!!

So are you saying that you’re the typical “ordinary person?”!!!

Don’t the high housing prices just mean that you get to charge higher interest rates???

Isn’t that the case, isn’t it, isn’t it???

This money comes from ordinary people’s blood and sweat!!!

Do you think I’d pawn my great uncle’s coffin just so you’d be able to eat abalone!!!

Do you think I’d give you my grandma’s dowry just so you could eat shark fin soup!!!

Do you think you can eat it???  I hope you choke and die!!!

Dragon: Ahem.  Settle down a bit Turtle.

Let’s take a look at the next outrageous comment.  The latest comment about the uselessness of academic achievement has drawn wide attention.  CPPCC committee member Wang Ping made the astonishing statement that: We should not encourage children from rural areas to attend college.  That is because once children from rural areas attend college, they will be unable to return to their hometowns.  Furthermore, there are severe employment pressures in the cities.  There is no possible way that rural kids who are cramped into these cities can be happy.

Turtle (shouting):

What the f*** does it have to do with you if I decide to go to college!!!

What the f*** does attending college have to do with finding work!!!

I’m sure your family is pure-bred city dweller at least eight generations back,

I bet your family has lived in cities from the time they evolved from monkeys, isn’t this the case!!!

So are you saying that people in rural areas should stay cramped in their villages for generations???

So are the nation’s leaders saying that we should go back to feudalistic system where political power is inherited and people stay put!!!

Don’t you understand the old saying, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!!!  Don’t you get it, Don’t you get it!!!

According to your logic, how do you explain the Chinese old saying that once your stomach is full, you will start to think about other desires (for example, sexual desire).

Are you saying that we should just stop eating ???

Are you saying that once we are not hungry anymore, everybody will become very lustful ???

What kind of crappy ass logic is this!!!

Dragon: Turtle, settle down, settle down!!  Don’t forget about maintaining an appropriate image!

Turtle: Appropriate image, my ass!!!

Eh. .  Sorry Dragon, my bad.  I shouldn’t interrupt and shout.

Dragon: ahem, don’t worry about.  Just take it easy.

Let’s take a look at another proposal that was suggested by an animal protection advocate, Jing Yidan, who proposed during the Two Sessions to create a law on preventing cruelty to animals, in which she calls on the National People’s Congress to act swiftly to ban
“extracting bile from bears while they are alive” and other such acts of extreme animal abuse

For a long time, media, NGOs, and the public have opposed “removing bile from live bears.” The proposed law has caused one company in the “live bear bile removal” industry,  Gui Zhen Tang, to encounter a great wave of opposition.  Despite being challenged, this company is still thinking of ways to secure financing and get listed on the stock market so that they can torture even more bears.  Furthermore, the company brazenly threatened that, “Those who oppose us are oppose the country.”

Gui Zhen Tang’’s founder Qiu Shuhua also said, “Our bears are very healthy and can reproduce; their conditions are as comfortable as being in kindergarten, they live more comfortably even than the founder of the company, and extracting their bile causes them no harm whatsoever.”

(Switch to shouting mode)

Fuck !!!

If it’s so comfortable, why don’t you go live there then?

How about you take your whole family and put them into the cage!

Your husband should go!!! Your son should go too!!!

I bet you don’t give them anesthesia when retrieving the bile!!! Tie them to the iron bars of their cage huh!!!

Inability to control eating and excretion is very comfortable eh!!

Get listed on the stock market my ass!!! You should also move your office desk into one of those cages!!

Hell, you should just get listed in the cage and enjoy all the comfort !!!

Turtle: Hey, Dragon, why did you start shouting so quickly, you stole all my lines.

Dragon: Oh, my apologies, ahem, I couldn’t help myself.

Ok, now let’s turn our attention to the exceptional NPC members who behaved outstandingly during the course of the Two Sessions.

82岁的申纪兰,从1954 年当选第一届全国人大代表,到2008年当选第十一届全国人大代表,连任近60年,是全国唯一一位从首届连任到第十一届的人大代表。
82 year old Shen Jilan, elected as a NPC representative in 1954 to the First Session of the NPC Congress, and served as a representative up until the 11th Session of the NPC in 2008; she has served continuously for nearly 60 years and is the only NPC representative to have participated in the First Congressional session all the way until the Eleventh Session.

When asked about the secret to being a consecutive attendant, she proudly replied, “Being a representative means listening to the Party.  I have never cast a dissenting vote because we shouldn’t make more trouble for the country.”

Turtle, your turn.

Turtle: Oh, Dragon, so you’re done shouting? I’ll go ahead then.

(Switches to shouting version)

Never dissent my ass!!!

What do you mean don’t make trouble for the country!!!

Will you die if you cast a dissenting vote!!!

The economy will collapse huh,  there will be inflation eh???

You support everything!!!

You’d support being Anti-Rightist, and when they give political rehabilitation for the Rightists you’d turn around and also support that!!!


The Great Leap Forward you supported, Household-Responsibility System you’d still support!!!

Do you know what taking a stand means???

You’re a people’s representative my ass!!!

You represent the people my ass!!!

The country invites your participation just so you can go and raise your hand eh???

You look pretty raising your hand eh???

How about we just arrange a row of pictures showing people with raised hands huh???

That way at least, for better or worse, there will be lower carbon emissions and it’ll be more environmentally friendly!!!

Dragon:  Stop! Ok, that’s enough.

Actually, among the representatives and committee members of the Two Sessions, people like Shen Jilan are not rare. Of these committee members and representatives, some are often absent from the meetings; some never review the legislative proposals; others review the proposals but never inquire about popular opinion and just sit around on the toilet waiting for inspiration to come to them; deciding on their own how much to make people’s balls ache from their proposals.  It’s really enough to make you feel like you want to laugh and cry.

Netizens call this group of people “soy sauce members”, “soy sauce representatives”, because they are purely participating just to “get soy sauce” and get a free meal.

Turtle: The job of these committee members and representatives, to put it simply, is to reflect the sentiments and perspectives of the people, to participate in discussing the country’s policies, and I really don’t know what’s the use in selecting these kinds of “soy sauce representatives.”

Many representatives have for long started to enjoy the high life buying up BMWs, expensive clothing and fancy food, and this kind of lifestyle is so far removed from the lives of the common people, it makes us question if they can truly represent us? Do they wait in line for days and nights to buy a train ticket to return home for the Spring Festival? Have they ever taken a bus which is so crowded that your feet cannot even touch the ground? Have they ever had their homes forcibly demolished? Their family members beaten by the city administration cops? On what basis can they represent us?

Dragon: You’re exactly right, the process for electing representatives and committee members, it really is problematic, since the elite will never understand the true thoughts of the people at the grassroots level.

Ai, Turtle, how come you didn’t shout this time huh?

Turtle: I’m tired of shouting, we’re here indignant and fuming, but the representatives are sleeping soundly at their meeting, even if I continue to yell it’ll be pointless.

Dragon: Hold on a second. Related to those soy sauce representatives who are there purely to fill seats are these even more thought-provoking grassroots resolutions online. Netizen “Ergou” proposes that the standard for personal income tax should be decided like this: personal income tax is levied on only those with monthly incomes that exceed the average local price of a square meter of real estate.

This micro blog received a wild response from netizens. Within a short eight-day period, it was reposted more than 17,000 times. Although it was joke, it reflected the real inner thoughts of the common people. Salaries are too low, the cost of living too high. They toil for a few bucks and yet are still subjected to an array of taxes. And real estate prices continue to climb. The common people really can’t afford homes.

Turtle: The musician Chuanzi has a song called “In Happiness.” He sings: “Where is happiness at 40,000 yuan a square meter. I work hard every day and spend my money carefully. But to move into this kind of happiness will take more than three centuries. I just can’t afford it.”

Dragon: Looking back at 2010, the cost of living increased rapidly but the Chinese people are still broke. Magnificent GDP figures continue to soar. With a forged sense of happiness, the common people smile like flowers.

Today, in an auspicious and cheerful atmosphere, the Two Sessions concluded successfully. Actually, a short period of a few days is far from being enough to solve all the problems. Housing prices are still a spectacle. Money is still hard to make. Taxes still must be paid. The public servants’ accomplishments are still quite few.

Turtle  (shouting:)

Taxes should be paid by ZhifuBao (Chinese PayPal) !!!

Payment will be confirmed only after political achievements are made!

Good ratings, poor ratings – we’ll base this on our mood!

If they don’t serve the common people then we’ll ask for a goddamned refund!

Officials should follow behind our asses, saying: “Give me a good rating, Darling. Pick me, Darling, and guarantee good service to the people!

My work is done, Darling! Please accept it!

Dragon: Ah, what a great idea!

Turtle (shouting):

What’s so great about it? The problem now is:

Shop owners couldn’t care less if you give them a good rating!

First you swipe a fucking platinum credit card and then you’re hoodwinked into spending a fortune!

Only to discover that it was the shop owner who opened the online account!

A direct goddamn transfer!

Then you complain to Taobao (Chinese eBay) only to discover that he’s part of goddamned Taobao!

Goddamn these default positive ratings!

They all have a goddamned five star rating!

Dragon: Are you tired Turtle?

Turtle: Oh, I am …

Dragon: Let’s go home and have some noodles.

Turtle: Alright.

Dragon: OK, that’s all for today’s program. Thanks for watching friends. See you next week.

Ending theme: “The Two Sessions Song” adapted to “Enter a New Era”

I have longed to tell you, how helpless the housing prices have made me.

I have longed to confide in you, that my wage won’t buy me food.

The powerful and rich Chinese, with high spirits open the “Two Sessions.”

啊`啊  他们有权有钱,来把那两会开。
Ah ah, with power and money they open the “Two Session.”

They have a tea party and astounding resolutions roll past.

They discuss the housing price problem, and this generation won’t find a spouse.

Those representatives with no fundamental standards, no one cares how helplessly we live.

Sing their praises and fabricate the future.

Let me tell the world, the dangers of being reincarnated in China.

Let me tell the future, Chinese food products have altered our genes.

The powerful and rich Chinese take the stage in joyful song and laughter.

啊`啊  他们欢歌笑语,来到这大舞台。
Ah ah, they take to this stage in joyful song and laughter.

They have a tea party with no carrying of responsibility.

They discuss the problems of our livelihood, without pain, itch or injury.

Those representatives with no fundamental standards, no one cares how helplessly we live.

Sing their praises and fabricate the future.

They have a tea party and astounding resolutions roll past.

They discuss the housing price problem, This generation won’t find a spouse.

Those representatives with no fundamental standards, no one cares how helplessly we live.

Sing their praises and fabricate the future.

Fabricate the future.

Beneath the video is a description of some of the background and inside jokes.

Shouting font: Much of the comic effect of the cartoon comes from the juxtaposition of bland, cliched reporting on theTwo Seesions with the angry rants about current events. The angry rants are read as they were written by netizens–in a font that has been dubbed “shouting font” (咆哮体). For examples of shouting font, see here and here.

Shocking proposals: “Shocking proposals” (天雷提案) refer to certain proposals and statements made during the Two Sessions. Netizen’s reactions to some of these “shocking proposals” are read out during the cartoon in shouting font.

The images at the beginning of the movie: The video begins with three watches; one that contains three timepieces, one that is blank and one that displays the time, 3:15. In Chinese, the phrase, “wear three watches” (带三个表) sounds the same as “Three Represents” (三个代表) Jiang Zemin’s signature ideological creation that many find to be incomprehensible. The time 3:15 refers to March 15, the day the Two Sessions ended.

The crab in the opening scene is also significant. In Chinese, the word “river crab” sounds nearly the same as the word “harmonious.” Since “creating a harmonious society” has become a pretext for censorship, the word “river crab” is also a coded reference to censorship.

References to “harmonious”: In recent Chinese political propaganda, perhaps the most often used word is “harmonious.” The Olympics were “harmonious,” government meetings are “harmonious” schools are “harmonious” etc, etc. The dark side of “creating a harmonious society” is that the government aggressively targets elements that are considered to not be harmonious. For a Chinese netizen, to be “harmonized” is to be censored.

The 50 Cent Morning Post: Netizens first coined the term “Fifty Cent Party” to refer to undercover internet commentators who were paid by the government to sway public opinion (“fifty cents” is a reference to the alleged pay received per post).

Bear bile: In China, Japan and Korea, bears’ bile is used in traditional medicine. The bears were housed in small cages, and the green, bitter fluid was sucked from their gall bladders using crude catheters, sometimes creating pus-filled abscesses or internal bile leakage. Many bears die slowly from infections or liver ailments, including cancer.

Household-Responsibility System: The household responsibility system was a move away from a strict quota system and a move closer towards a free market system.

Housing prices: The high cost of housing is hugely problematic in China. Many homeowners feel that they are “mortgage slaves.” Recently Hu Jintao drew criticism after he appeared on television with a woman who claimed that she only paid about USD$11 a month in rent. Netizens claimed the interview was rigged.

Cramped conditions in cities: Those forced to live in small apartments are members of the snail dwelling tribe.

Reference to “balls ache”: The term “balls ache” (蛋疼) is a recent slang term. It means (1) to do something unreasonable out of boredom, (2) the state of boredom, (3) an unreasonable act.

Reference to soy sauce and soy sauce representatives: The term “soy sauce representatives” is derived from the phrase “get soy source”: One who is “getting soy sauce” is just listening as a spectator, without making substantive comments or contributions.

Forcible housing demolitions: A major source of social unrest in China today results from forced demolitions. These demolitions are often violent and have led netizens to joke that the word “China” should be spelled “Chaina” which sounds like “demolish it” in Chinese.

This generation won’t find a spouse: This refers to one representative, Liang Pei’s comment on how to resolve the problem of high price housing — girls in their 20s can marry men in their 40s.