Han Han (韩寒) lives in Shanghai. The twenty-six-year-old race car driver is also one of the China’s most popular young writers and bloggers. His blog traffic was ranked number one on sina.com this fall, and he was listed by the Southern Metropolis Weekly as one of the “Twenty most influential figures in Chinese cyberspace.”
Here is a recent item from his blog. Han Han re-posted a anonymous netizen’s post which compiled seven news items from different official media and government websites, within the period of three months, all about one “representative” farmer, Zheng Jichao (郑继超), in a flood disaster zone, as he gave media interviews or was visited by government officials, including China’s President Hu Jintao. This farmer apparently became a staged showcase for all levels of official visits for the state’s propaganda purposes. In his typical witty and sarcastic style, Han Han gives as the title of his post: “The Zheng Jichao Film and Television Studio,” implying that farmer Zheng Jichao is a film star. Translated by CDT’s Shilin Jia.
The First Time
Source: Anhui Pioneer Net
Time: 15 November 2007
On Nov. 15, the Vice Secretary of the Work Committee for Offices Directly under the CCCPC, Zhao Kai, and his cohort came to Fuyang to observe and express their condolences. Hu Liansong, the associate director of the provincial people’s congress committee and the municipal party secretary; Zhang Shaochun and Li Hongta, the responsible officers in relevant provincial departments; and Deputy Mayor Liu Shaotai accompanied the team.
“Houses have been built. Roads have been broadened. People now cook with gas. Life has improved. For all of this, I am grateful to the Party’s care and support,” the fifty-something Zheng Jichao said happily as he stood hand in hand with Zhao Kai, at the natural disaster victims’ housing site in Zhengtaizi, Licheng Village, Wangjiaba Town, Funan County. After learning that the families whose homes collapsed were very content with their newly constructed buildings, Zhao Kai was delighted. He said, reconstruction after a natural disaster is important because its helps people, ensures social stability, and helps speed up development. Everyone must work hard and ensure that the construction is completed.
The Second Time
Source: Fuyang Government Website
Time: 23 November 2007
Just like Liu Wenge, Zheng Jichao, a disaster victim in Zhengtaizi, Licheng Village, Wangjiaba Town, has been very excited the past two days. On November 23, government cadres from the county, town, and village brought cotton coats, cotton quilts, and flour to his home together to offer their help and ask about this and that and whether he needs any help. Only when Zheng’s collapsed house had been totally rebuilt and his family had food to eat and clothes to wear, the Deputy County Mayor Li Guoqing felt satisfied. Wearing the wadded jacket the mayor gave him with his own hands, Zheng thankfully said, “This wadded jacket is new and thick; wearing it on my body really warms my heart; all of our needs — even the things we haven’t thought to ask for — are taken care of by the government!”
On Dec. 5, Zhao Shucong, a member of the provincial party’s standing committee and also a vice-governor, went down to Mengwa Flood Storage Area in Funan County, accompanied by the municipal party secretary, Song Weiping, and a member of the municipal party’s standing committee and a standing vice-mayor, Song Jiawen, to visit with and give their condolences to disaster victims.
At the disaster relief areas near collapsed houses in Zhengtaizi, Licheng Village, Wangjiaba Town, Zhao Shucong carefully examined the situation of the settlement’s construction. He also visited with Zheng Jichao and his family whose home collapsed in the disaster. Upon discovering that Zheng’s home had been rebuilt and that he and his family had ample food and clothes, Zhao encouraged the old man to use the flood compensation wisely to increase agricultural production and get rich quick.
The Fourth Time
Source: Popular Science Net
Time: 10 December 2007
On Dec. 10, the Anhui provincial party’s vice secretary and acting governor, Wang Sanyun, accompanied by the provincial government’s secretary-general, Zhang Jun, and comrades responsible in relevant provincial departments, came to our city to survey and advise our work. The municipal party secretary, Song Weiping, and vice-secretary and mayor, Sun Yunfei, also accompanied them.
Later, Wang Sanyun came to the settlement for disaster victims in Zhengtaizi, Wangjiaba Town, Funan County, to inspect the progress of reconstruction in the disaster area. In Zhengtaizi, what he saw were flat roads, water towers lined up one after another, and villagers jubilantly finishing their new houses. After being briefed on the situation by town officials, Wang Sanyun was delighted by the good news. He went into villager Zheng Jichao’s three newly constructed buildings and inquired about his financial resources, his quality of life, and what he thought of the new buildings. “Content with the new houses?” Wang asked. “How could I not be? With the government’s support, I get to live in these wonderful buildings,” Zheng said. Wang Sanyun also gave Zheng a cotton quilt and told him to stay warm this winter.
City leaders Meng Qingyin, Qi Long, Wang Haiyan, Chu Jinshui, Liu Changping, Liu Shaotai, Hu Mingying, Tao Kegui, and Li Zimeng were also present.
The Fifth Time
Source: Guilin Mirror Net
Time: 18 December 2007
A Journalist’s interview:
Zheng Jichao, “At that time, I was touched to the point of tears. Just a while after the flood when the disaster relief compensation processes begun I learned that my family could receive over 10,000 yuan. I was overjoyed. Around that time, whenever I met somebody, I said without fail, “The Party supports the people; no matter how fierce the flood, we need not fear.”
The Sixth Time
Source: Anhui Piornner Net
Time: 22 December 2007
A Journalist’s Report
After an hour traveling by car, I finally arrived in Zhengtaizi, Wangjiaba Town, Funan County again. It was an uplifting sight: The originally boarded-up flooded houses were gone; in their place stood rows and rows of newly built bungalows; blocks and blocks of shining fences; one broad cement road connected the two ends of the hacienda; there were newly built water towers; flowers and grass had sprouted up everywhere …
Through an iron fence in the distance, you could see Villager Zheng Jichao basking in his yard. Recognizing me, Zheng Jichao got up. His neighbors also gathered around in twos and threes.
“You see our houses here. There just as good as any house in the city, don’t you think?” “You journalists have seen many things. Have a look at how green things are?” the villagers asked joyfully, one after another. Zheng Jichao, pointing to his new buildings, said: “The government really took great care of me. They gave me 5000 yuan to rebuild my house and another several hundred to build a fence around the yard. They even gave me the fence for free. Now we have running water in our houses, and the methane-generating pit is completed too. A few days ago, the town (government) also sent me two bags of flour. With no need to worry about food and housing, we disaster victims feel warm in our hearts, though it’s pretty cold outside.
The Seventh Time
Time: 12 January 2008
On a stormy, snowy afternoon on Jan. 12, Secretary-General Hu Jintao made a special visit to inspect the Wangjiaba Watergate on Huai River. Last summer, in order to protect a great number of people from flooding, people in flood storage areas sacrificed greatly. Secretary-General Hu was particularly worried about the people in flood storage areas and made a special visit to Zhengtaizi, Licheng Village, Wangjiaba Town, Funan County. Secretary-General Hu examined the flood storage area, and visited Villager Zheng Jichao’s home.
Right after stepping into the house, Secretary-General Hu Jintao shook Zheng’s hand and said: “Huai River flooded last summer affecting many dear villagers. Now the severe winter months have arrived. What troubles are faced with now? I have been very unsettled by the predicament you’re in and so I came here to you especially today to see how you’re doing.” Zheng told Secretary-General Hu that with help from the party committee and government, his family had already built new houses, and their quality of life had already improved. “Did you get flood storage compensation from the state?” Hu asked. “Yes!” Zheng Jichao said, taking a red deposit book from his pocket. Secretary-General Hu took the deposit book and read it. Then he smiled and said, “Now I am relieved.”