Netizen Voices: CCTV Reins in Pan Shiyi

Pan Shiyi stumbled through his CCTV interview. (Pan Shiyi/Weibo)

Pan Shiyi stumbled through his CCTV interview. (Pan Shiyi/Weibo)

So much for speaking out. (Banzha/Weibo)

So much for speaking out. (Banzha/Weibo)

Chinese real estate mogul and popular Weibo personality Pan Shiyi has not been afraid to speak out on social media. He is a “Big V” with millions of followers. His online activism helped to pressure the Beijing municipal government to report more accurate air pollution readings. Pan has laughed with netizens even as they laughed at him, taking his punches with grace. But the confident, outspoken Pan disappeared on Wednesday evening when he appeared on CCTV to discuss new regulations of the dissemination of false information online.

Pan Shiyi: Last night, I called a friend, another Big V, and told him, “CCTV is going to interview me about the law. I’m nervous. What should I say?” He said, “Don’t accept the interview.” I said, “Too late. They are 20 meters away and walking towards me.” “Then you just say shame on rumors and slander.”

潘石屹:昨晚,我给一大V的朋友打电话说:“CCTV要采访我关于司法解释的事,我很紧张。我应该怎么说呢?”他说:“你千万不要接受采访。”我说:“来不及了,他们正在20米处向我走来。”他说:“那你就说造谣诽谤可耻。”

Netizens could now face up to three years in prison if the “false information” they post is reposted over 500 times. Meanwhile, Big Vs are being targeted by the authorities. Chinese-American business and Big V Charles Xue was arrested in August. Tycoon and civil rights activist Wang Gongquan, whose Weibo account was deleted long ago but who remains active on WeChat, has now been detained.

On Weibo, some netizens have mocked Pan for his stuttering and flubs on TV:

林一民微博: I-I-I think M-M-Mr. Pan must have been s-s-scared and peed his pants.

我我我觉得老老老潘一定吓吓吓得尿裤子了。

周泽律师: Pan Shiyi has over 16 million followers on Weibo. I suggest we nationalize and tax his account and change its name to The People’s Weibo.

建议国家将粉丝1600多万的潘石屹的微博进行征收,予以国有化,改名人民微博。

Others have been more understanding of Pan’s predicament:

舒可心: Apparently, Mr. Pan was being interviewed by the police, not a reporter!

明显潘总面对的是预审的警察而不是记者!

Facing the ever more powerful People’s Democratic Dictatorship, all the little crawling bugs can only shake in fear, even if that little bug is a Big V.

伞兵4: 在强大的人民民主专政面前,一切小爬虫只能瑟瑟发抖,哪怕这只小爬虫是个大V。

During the Cultural Revolution political opportunists were called “little crawling bugs” (小爬虫).

shumic: He doesn’t even need to cut his hair. He only needs a yellow [prison] vest.

都不用剪头发了,差一身黄马甲。

运床专家: After watching Pan Shiyi’s CCTV interview, I sighed. Mr. Pan was so nervous in front of that air-brained host that he couldn’t put a sentence together and had to force himself to stay calm. It’s only because the Party and the government were behind the microphone. It seems like no one will be spared this round of disciplining the Big Vs. It’s almost like the Anti-Rightist Campaign. 60 years of Qin rule, and no respite for 8,000 miles.

看完了潘石屹的央视采访视频,一声叹息。面前站一个愣头青编导,就把潘先生吓得语无伦次,强作镇静,无外乎话筒背后是党和政府。这一轮打大V,看来要人人过关了,着实像整风反右。六十年来皆秦政,八千里内无桃源。

The Qin Dynasty was the first to unite the Chinese heartland and organized the construction of the first iteration of the Great Wall. The Qin Emperor is also remembered for burning books and executing scholars.

何三畏: The People’s Daily has never lied in the last 60 years–please repost it 500 times. Thanks.

《人民日报》六十多年来从来没有造过谣——求转500次。谢谢。

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Junebug.