Weibo: Make Way for the Boss

Since Weibo user @nocop posted this photo from the National People’s Congress on March 3, it has been forwarded (“retweeted”) 15,227 times and commented on 3,435 times:


The young man wheels Deng Pufang, son of the late Deng Xiaoping, past a nervous-looking Chongqing Committee Secretary Bo Xilai.

It’s been a rough winter for Bo, a man who many believe was positioning himself for ascent to the Politburo Standing Committee. In his four years governing Chongqing, Bo waged a successful war on organized crime with former vice-mayor and Public Security Bureau chief Wang Lijun. Bo also steered a “red song” campaign last summer–bringing Chongqing back to Chinese communism’s roots with propaganda ballads from the Mao era. But in early February, Wang was demoted, possibly for snooping on Bo and his wife for corruption. Days later, Wang drove in disguise to the American consulate in Chengdu. It is still unclear what Wang did there. He is currently undergoing “vacation-style therapy” while he is investigated for “economic crimes.” Many believe Wang has permanently ruined Bo’s reputation.

The Deng family was tortured during the Cultural Revolution. Deng Pufang was thrown from third-story window on Beijing University campus in 1968, leaving him a paraplegic. He became a champion for the physically and mentally disabled in the 1980s, founding and chairing the China Disabled Persons’ Federation in 1988. He received the United Nations Human Rights Prize in 2003 for his work.

Netizens see decades of political drama in this one photo. Although Bo’s father, Bo Yibo, was one of the Eight Elders, Deng Xiaoping was his superior. Many liken this political power play to the mafia, where rank and family determine who wins the game. Beneath Deng’s placid demeanor could be frothing rage for the man who brought back the songs of his tormentors. Bo’s down-turned gaze seems to acknowledge that.

Read more comments in the original Chinese here and here.

Penguin for Life: Now do you know who’s boss?

Er Fangmu: The God of Princelings.

Cup of Boiled Water 0821: The boss is the boss.

WhoIsYingHaiming: The only disabled person in China who gets respect.

Alphonse—-THU: The Yamaguchi-gumi has nothing on these guys!

Wang Yan Chengxingerlai: The gang is all about seniority. You can’t break the custom.

QFishHead: Whose hand holds the imperial seal is self-evident.

Mike_Chee: I want to know, if you added a Squire Xi to this picture, what would it look like?

Dickie Chen: Haha, where is General Mao?

XiaoGong_Vanquish: I guess it’s not only who your father is. Standing on the wrong side is worse.

Athrun_101: So many forwards and this post still hasn’t been harmonized. Looks like Bo has no hope of joining the Standing Committee.

Get Busy or Get Out: One crossing of paths, one meeting of eyes, and the outcome is already set. But today’s winner could be tomorrow’s prisoner. The Axe Gang is always like this.

Utopia of the Wild North: Maybe Pufang will forever look down on those who brought back Cultural Revolution style?

Dainty11: Sing red and beat black? I was made into a cripple in my prime! You stay away from me!

Sweet Wenny Bastard: Deng: Back then the guys who sand red songs crippled me. And you f***ing orchestrated the Red Songs movement. Bo: I’m so sorry, Boss. I want to be on the committee, too. Deng: Get the hell out!

Qiao Jiabai: Bo thinks: Don’t be so goddamn proud, when the I take my seat I will make you stand up and call me Master. Little Deng thinks: I’ll let you f***ing jump up and down, until I cut you off.  Goddamn it, stand up straight.

My Chinese is better than Xiaobei’s: Little Footstool1 and that tiny upward curl at the corners of his mouth… Brother Necktie: I can take it!

Xindy the Confused Cat: Now’s the perfect time to stand aside and sing a red song.

Michael True and Open: His tie is tilted. Comrade Changchun2 needs to come fix it.

Sibadakesi: Note: Commander Bo could run with that folder to the American embassy whenever he wants.

Otherworldly Fragrance: Deng has the look of a winner. Bo’s all mixed up, like a child who’s done something bad.

Extra Corrects It: I am in deep s***… Big brother, help your little brother, I’ll work my whole life to pay you back.3

Zhou Feng: Save me, Brother Deng!

Five Finger Mountain Man: It seems his eyes are totally turned away. If Wang Lijun hadn’t run away, who knows who would be making way for whom? Political circles in the Celestial Empire are back-stabbing and cold-blooded.

YueMingQingKong: Whole body stiff, face is frowning, two lips shut tight, no crow’s feet at corners of eyes, fake smile. This guy is so screwed.

LiMing7088: Picture of the year! @Li Siming Official Weibo: This candid photo says so much. It would be a shame if it doesn’t win the Pulitzer! @Red Pomegranate in Autumn: The world captured in an instant!

Rare Bird’s Gallstone: The best photos are the ones that tell a story.

Tang Long: Three people’s expressions tell you all you need to understand China.

Five Philosophers: It all lies in that which is not spoken.

1 “Little Footstool” (小凳子 Xiǎo Dèngzi) sounds like Little Deng.

2 Li Changchun is Propaganda Chief and ranks fifth on the Politburo Standing Committee.

3 This comment mimics the dialogue in Hong Kong gangster films.